UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Joachimite apocalypticism, Cistercian mysticism and the sense of disintegration in Perlesvaus and The… O’Hagan, Michael 1983

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1983_A1 O43.pdf [ 14.69MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0095923.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0095923-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0095923-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0095923-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0095923-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0095923-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0095923-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0095923-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0095923.ris

Full Text

JOACHIMITE APOCALYPTICISM, CISTERCIAN MYSTICISM AND THE SENSE OF DISINTEGRATION IN PERLESVAUS AND THE QUESTE DEL SAINT GRAAL by MICHAEL O'HAGAN A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of French) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March, 1983 ©Michael O'Hagan, 1983 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of French The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date March ?,1 , 1983 DE-6 (3/81) ABSTRACT The two early thirteenth-century romances Perlesvaus and the Queste d e l saint Graal are strongly influenced by p a r t i c u l a r t h e o l o g i c a l doctrines. The primary influence on Perlesvaus i s apocalyptic: not only does i t r e f l e c t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y apocalyptic concepts of j u s t i c e , moral o b l i g a t i o n and redemption, but i t also depends on the all-encompassing struggle between good and e v i l to unify i t s p l o t . More s p e c i f i c a l l y , Per- lesvaus shows s p e c i a l a f f i n i t y for the p a r t i c u l a r apocalyptic views of Joa-chim of F i o r e , whose theory of the three ages of h i s t o r y and whose exege-t i c a l p r i n c i p l e of concordia l i t t e r a e - a r e important influences on i t . The theology of the Queste, on the other hand, i s mystical, empha-s i z i n g the inner l i f e of the soul; yet the mystical Queste i s more con-cerned with knighthood than i s Perlesvaus. The ultimate f r u i t of s p i r i t -ual enlightenment, moral struggle and growth i n grace - a l l important themes i n themselves - i s a renewed knighthood drawing i t s inner strength from holiness and capable of giving the godly knight the kind of meaningful chiv-alrous adventure that h i s more worldly fellows cannot achieve. Underlying these d i s t i n c t theologies i s a common preoccupation with change and d i s s o l u t i o n expressed p r i n c i p a l l y through the material imagery of water, representing t r a n s i t i o n and the threat of destruction, and of f i r e , evoking the unchangeable absoluteness of the beyond. Further s i m i l a r i t i e s i n the l e s s prominent material images of earth and sky and i n the choice of colour images confirm that the p a r a l l e l use of imagery of destructive water and of a f i r e that i s more l i g h t than flame i s not simple coincidence. i i i i i Two very d i f f e r e n t theological responses have been e l i c i t e d by a shared longing for the pure and absolute i n the midst of profoundly menacing change. CONTENTS Introduction 1 Chapter I Apocalypse i n Arthur's Kingdom: Perlesvaus 26 Chapter II The Holy G r a i l i n the Third Age: Perlesvaus and Joachim of Fiore 59 Chapter III Apocalyptic S p i r i t and Mystical Doctrine: the Queste del saint Graal 141 Chapter IV The Underlying Unity of Perlesvaus and the Queste del saint Graal .209 Chapter V Conclusion 274 Bibliography 282 Appendix The L i f e and Thought of Joachim of Fiore 293 i v INTRODUCTION THE STUDY OF PERLESVAUS AND THE QUESTE DEL SAINT GRAAL The study which follows addresses i t s e l f to two C h r i s t i a n i z e d G r a i l romances, the Queste del saint Graal and Perlesvaus, i n search of an answer to the -simple question: what do these works mean? Very few l i t e r a r y studies ever have to stand e n t i r e l y on t h e i r own, and t h i s one, i n that respect, i s no exception. The question that concerns us has been asked previously by various scholars, and has been answered i n ways that are, at l e a s t i n some cases, both i n t e r e s t i n g and u s e f u l , and form part of the background to the ideas presented here. The influence of previous scholarship- does not extend to the approach adopted i n t h i s t h e s i s . It i s assumed here that Perlesvaus and the Queste are s i m i l a r enough i n i n s p i r a t i o n and s p i r i t to have part of t h e i r meaning i n common, and that, at the same time, they are d i f f e r e n t enough that a study of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the i r unique, i n d i v i d u a l themes and the background they share w i l l be enlightening. This assumption i s not made by other students of either Perlesvaus or the Queste: comparisons of the two are rare. Whether the o r i g i n a l i t y of approach i s a v i r t u e or a v i c e can only be judged i n the l i g h t of the whole study, but i t deserves to be noted at the outset. In the realm of ideas, on the other hand, t h i s paper owes a considerable debt to e a r l i e r work, sometimes for insi g h t s that are so 2 c l e a r l y v a l i d that they have simply been acknowledged and adopted, sometimes for other theories le s s obviously true, which nonetheless suggested a l i n e of development or an area of i n v e s t i g a t i o n . Not everything written on Perlesvaus or the Queste i n the l a s t century i s r e f l e c t e d here, but so much of i t has entered i n one way or another, d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y , into the thesis that a summary of previous work i s l i k e l y to prove h e l p f u l to the reader. The organization and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of studies related to Perlesvaus and the Queste pose some problems. Since the two works are almost never compared, i t i s easy to make a primary d i v i s i o n into studies of Perlesvaus and studies of the Queste. Beyond that though, d i f f i c u l t i e s a r i s e . Many a r t i c l e s center more on a motif than on the work, and often they consider the motif i n several other romances i n addition to the one of i n t e r e s t to us. Moreover, the volume of c r i t i c i s m i n question i s not large enough for d i s t i n c t schools of thought or t r a d i t i o n s of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n to emerge, except i n very few cases. Organization by approach, theme, or area of i n t e r e s t i s thus a p o t e n t i a l source of confusion rather than of c l a r i t y , and for that reason, a simple chronological scheme, for a l l i t s obvious drawbacks, i s adopted here, with b r i e f comments on trends and re l a t e d approaches to follow. Attention was f i r s t c a l l e d to the Queste del saint Graal i n an a r t i c l e i n Romania i n 1907^ by Albert Pauphilet, who would subse-quently e s t a b l i s h himself as one of the leading students of the Queste, as well as i t s e d i t o r . Four years l a t e r i t was discussed for the f i r s t time by another scholar who would devote large portions of her career to 2 i t , Myrrha Lot-Borodine. o 3 Lot-Borodine and Pauphilet both returned to the Queste a f t e r the war, the former contributing a long a r t i c l e to Romania i n 1921: 3 "Les Deux Conquerants du Graal: Perceval et Galaad", and the l a t t e r f i r s t publishing a f u l l - f l e d g e d study, Etudes sur l a Queste del s a i n t 4 Graal attribuee a Gautier Map, i n 1921, and then e d i t i n g the text of the Queste for the Classiques fr a n c a i s du moyen age i n 1923.^ These two c r i t i c s both emphasized the t h e o l o g i c a l character of the Queste, though without agreeing on the p a r t i c u l a r s of doctrine. A t h i r d d o c t r i n a l variant of t h e i r approach was added i n 1932, when Etienne Gilson published h i s essay "La Mystique de l a grace dans l a Queste del  sa i n t Graal". Yet another, c l e a r l y d i s t i n c t theological i n t e r p r e -t a t i o n was offered ten years l a t e r by W. E. Hamilton, who argued for the c e n t r a l i t y of the Eucharist rather than of grace.^ In the decade a f t e r the Second World War Albert Pauphilet and Myrrha Lot-Borodine continued to write o'n- the Queste. Pauphilet d i s -g cussed i t i n h i s book Le Legs du moyen-age, and Lot-Borodine devoted two a r t i c l e s to i t , one on the apparitions of Christ i n the Queste 9 and i n the E s t o i r e del saint Graal, the other concerning "Les Grands Secrets du saint Graal dans l a Queste du pseudo-Map".^ The second a r t i c l e appeared i n a c o l l e c t i o n , Lumiere du Graal, edited i n 1951 by Rene N e l l i , w h i c h also contained several other studies on the Queste, 12 incl u d i n g Yves Le Hir's analysis of the b i b l i c a l element, and Rene Guenon's attempt to associate the G r a i l with i n i t i a t o r y r i t e s and esoteric knowledge.^ Frederick Locke produced, i n 1954, both a d i s s e r t a t i o n on the structure of the Queste and an a r t i c l e for Romanic Review, c a l l i n g for a new approach i n the study of the Queste, based on the p r i n c i p l e of 4 multiple meanings i n a single work and on an appreciation of the major 14 importance of questing as an a c t i v i t y . In that same year Jean Frappier adopted an equally new approach by departing from the general tendency to the o l o g i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Queste and other ov e r t l y C h r i s t i a n i z e d G r a i l romances to emphasize that these remain s t o r i e s about k n i g h t s . ^ Theological i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s and new approaches continued to be offered through the nineteen f i f t i e s and s i x t i e s . Irenee Vallery-Radot 16 treated the Queste as C i s t e r c i a n romance, while Locke incorporated h i s e a r l i e r c a l l for a new approach into a monograph, The Quest for the Holy G r a i l : a L i t e r a r y Study of a 13th. Century French Romance."*"^  In the same year i n which Locke's book appeared, 1960, Helen Henriessy chose to concentrate on the author's technique of combining romance 18 and allegory, but the t h e o l o g i c a l — a n d s p e c i f i c a l l y C i s t e r c i a n — character of the Queste continued to be of i n t e r e s t : Jean Charles Payen commented repeatedly on the Queste from that point of view i n h i s several studies of the theme of repentance i n mediaeval l i t e r a t u r e . Other work on the Queste i n the nineteen s i x t i e s comprised p r i m a r i l y b r i e f a r t i c l e s with very narrow and precise focus. Pierre Jonin 20 wrote on hermits, William Boletta on earthly and s p i r i t u a l nourish-21 22 ment, and Luc Cornet on three s p e c i f i c episodes. Work i n the nineteen seventies was generally broader i n scope, though not always devoted e x c l u s i v e l y to the Queste. Grace Savage wrote a d i s s e r t a t i o n on na r r a t i v e technique i n the Queste for 23 Princeton U n i v e r s i t y i n 1973, Mary Hynes-Berry produced a d i s s e r t a t i o n on r e l a t i o n and meaning i n the Queste and i n Malory's 24 version of the G r a i l story, the Tale of the Sankgraal, i n 1975. In 19 5 the same year, however, i n studying the Queste and T r i s t a n , Esther 25 Quinn returned to the s p e c i f i c a l l y r e l i g i o u s elements, and Sr. Mary Isabel produced an a r t i c l e on "The Knights of God, Clteaux and the Quest of the Holy G r a i l " f o r the c o l l e c t i o n The Influence of Saint 2 6 Bernard only a year l a t e r . The most recent major study of the 27 Queste, Pauline Matarasso's The Redemption of Chivalry, focuses on the r e l i g i o u s meaning of the work, but at the same time takes up and develops c a r e f u l l y and f r u i t f u l l y one of the new avenues of approach of the nineteen f i f t i e s by concentrating on the influence, not of C i s t e r c i a n theology, but of the B i b l e . The items contained i n t h i s chronological survey do not f a l l neatly into categories; the majority are so p a r t i c u l a r i n t h e i r focus on a c e r t a i n theme or incident that they stand e n t i r e l y alone. Other studies may be grouped to some extent. There i s c e r t a i n l y a C i s t e r c i a n school of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Queste, and i t i s included within a wider c i r c l e of commentators who view the Queste t h e o l o g i c a l l y . Such a p a r t i a l consensus c l e a r l y may not be ignored by any student. At the same time, however, any new attempt to elucidate the meaning of the Queste must take into account the divergent views of the various proponents of a theological i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , as well as the evidence c i t e d by more recent c r i t i c s , pointing to a m u l t i p l i c i t y of meanings deriving from C i s t e r c i a n theology, the B i b l e , and the s o c i a l evolution of the knightly c l a s s . This present study draws on both the longer established t h e o l o g i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s and the more recent c a l l s for a broader focus. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 6 Perlesvaus was edited and published i n the nineteenth 28 century, but t h i s p u b l i c a t i o n d i d not i n s p i r e widespread study. Sus-tained c r i t i c a l i n t e r e s t i n Perlesvaus began at approximately the same time as comparable i n t e r e s t i n the Queste, i n the f i r s t decade of the twentieth century. William Nitze, who occupies a place i n Perlesvaus studies s i m i l a r to Pauphilet's i n respect to the Queste, published a 29 study of the p r i n c i p a l sources of Perlesvaus i n 1902, and then con-tributed two b r i e f a r t i c l e s on questions of chronology and geography 30 at the end of the F i r s t World War. In the early nineteen twenties Jessie Weston wrote several short a r t i c l e s on d i f f e r e n t aspects of Perlesvaus: on i t s r e l a t i o n -31 32 ship to the Vengeance Raguidel and to the C y c l i c Romances, and on 33 the'Coward Knight motif. Other commentators i n the twenties included James Douglas Bruce, who devoted almost t h i r t y pages of h i s hi s t o r y of 34 the evolution of the Arthurian romances to Perslesvaus, and Helen Muchnic, who wrote a b r i e f study of two characters, the Coward Knight 35 and the Damsel of the Car. The nineteen t h i r t i e s were the period of most sustained r e -search into Perlesvaus. William Nitze and T. A. Jenkins edited the 36 text i n two volumes, with commentary, and various scholars added studies of widely d i f f e r i n g length and scope. Mary Williams published two quite b r i e f a r t i c l e s on the Keepers of the Threshold and on the 37 incident of the Copper Tower. Marjorie Williamson analysed the 38 dream of Cahus, also quite b r i e f l y . In 1935 B. Weinberg contributed 39 ten pages on the magic chessboard, and i n the following year H. L. Robinson treated the Sword of St. John the Baptist i n only three 40 pages. Not a l l the work on Perlesvaus was so cursory, however. In the same two years, 1935-36, William Roach wrote a d i s s e r t a t i o n on "The Religious Elements i n P e r l e s v a u s " a n d Neale Carman studied Perlesvaus extensively i n one of the very few c r i t i c a l attempts to compare i t with the Queste: "The Relationship of the Perlesvaus 42 and the Queste del saint Graal". On the eve of the Second World War Roach made a further substantial contribution to Perlesvaus scholarship i n an a r t i c l e "Eucharistic T r a d i t i o n i n the Perlesvaus", 44 Mary Williams published another b r i e f a r t i c l e , and A. H. Krappe 45 investigated the episode of the burning c i t y . The war caused a hiatus i n the study of Perlesvaus as i n so many other areas. Neale Carman resumed p u b l i c a t i o n on the subject i n 1946 with a lengthy attempt to demonstrate that Perlesvaus was a kind of symbolic New Testament, teaching b i b l i c a l doctrine by means of 46 contemporary exempla. Four years l a t e r he wrote a much shorter 47 a r t i c l e on the more precise question, "Was P e l l e s the Fisher King?" Whereas the nineteen t h i r t i e s were a period of much greater i n t e r e s t i n Perlesvaus than i n the Queste, the opposite was true of the f i f t i e s , when so many new d i r e c t i o n s were suggested i n the i n t e r -p r e t a t i o n of the Queste. A passing mention i n Lucien Foulet's 1959 48 a r t i c l e on the chronology and language of th i r t e e n t h century works, 49 a note on sources by Roger Sherman Loomis i n 1960 and a consideration of geographical questions by Neale Carman i n 1964"^ comprise Perlesvaus studies i n the almost two decades a f t e r nineteen f i f t y . i . There has been some renewed i n t e r e s t i n Perlesvaus more recently, beginning with three a r t i c l e s published i n nineteen seventy. 51 One was written by Frederick Whitehead, a second, on Joseph of 8 52 Arimathea, by Loomis, and the t h i r d , on the two incidents of the 53 G r a i l Castle and the Dolorous Guard, by Neale Carman. A s l i g h t l y more general character s t u d y — a psychological and symbolic analysis 54 of the female characters—was published by Jeanne Lods i n 1973. F i n a l l y , Thomas K e l l y i n 1974 published the most complete study of Perlesvaus .to date,^^ and followed t h i s the next year with a b r i e f a r t i c l e on the concept of love i n Perlesvaus.^^ The c l e a r e s t impression to emerge from t h i s summary of work on Perlesvaus i s diffuseness. Perhaps because of a widespread conviction that the work lacks o v e r a l l coherence and unity, few attempts have been made to understand j u s t what i t i s about. Neale Carman's theory that Perlesvaus was a r e t e l l i n g of b i b l i c a l incidents i n an updated context was f o r years the only attempt at a systematic a n a l y s i s , but i t was too improbable to convince other scholars. Thus, there has never been a received i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Perlesvaus comparable to the C i s t e r c i a n / mystical i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Queste del saint Graal. K e l l y ' s analysis begins much more p l a u s i b l y from the s t r u c t u r a l d i v i s i o n of the t e x t — a t l i n e 6271—and posits a thematic structure organized around concepts of soteriology and eschatology, yet allowing for far more creative freedom on the author's part than was assumed i n Carman's s t r i c t and rigorous symbolic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Whether this apparently very promising approach w i l l acquire the same a u t h o r i t a t i v e status as the C i s t e r c i a n i n t e r p r e -tations of the Queste remains to be seen, since i t was only presented i n 1974, and a decade i s a r e l a t i v e l y short period i n the study of a minor work l i k e Perlesvaus that i s not written about very often. While the new student of Perlesvaus cannot have recourse to a 9 received a u t h o r i t a t i v e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , either as a source of help or as an object to be attacked, he can fi n d assistance i n the e x i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e i n dealing with many p r a c t i c a l questions and points of d e t a i l . That i s the other s a l i e n t feature of Perlesvaus c r i t i c i s m : such problems as dating and sources have been c a r e f u l l y treated by Nitze and Atkinson i n t h e i r , e d i t i o n , by Carman i n his study of Per-1esvaus and the Queste and by others, and much l i g h t has been shed on i n d i v i d u a l characters and motifs both i n the many a r t i c l e s c i t e d above and i n K e l l y ' s book, which analyses a ce r t a i n number of key incidents and characters i n d e t a i l . I t i s i n such matters as these, f a r more than i n the realm of general i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , that t h i s pre-sent study draws upon previous Perlesvaus scholarship. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I t was admitted frankly at the beginning of th i s Introduction that other students of the Queste and Perlesvaus do not share the basic assumption on which t h i s study is.based, namely that the two romances have enough i n common for a comparative study of them to be a f r u i t f u l source of i n s i g h t into t h e i r meaning. At l e a s t f i v e scholars have compared the two works: Bruce, Carman, Loomis, Nitze and one not yet mentioned, Jean Marx. Only one of these, Carman, claims to fi n d s i g n i f i c a n t areas of common meaning; the other four a l l use each text as a f o i l f o r the other to bring out with greater c l a r i t y the d i f f e r -ence between them. The o r i e n t a t i o n of their work i s thus quite d i f f e r e n t from that of this t h e s i s , which seeks understanding of meaning i n the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of what i s d i s t i n c t and what i s common. Even for our purposes, however, a cl e a r understanding of 10 points of differ e n c e i s important, and both for that reason and because these are the only previous comparisons of Perlesvaus and the Queste, the p r i n c i p a l conclusions of these f i v e scholars merit more detai l e d a t t e n t i o n than does the other work on one text or the other which has already been noted more c u r s o r i l y . William Nitze states s u c c i n c t l y the basic d i f f e r e n c e that i s acknowledged generally as d i s t i n g u i s h i n g the Queste from Perlesvaus. The former i s above a l l t h e o l o g i c a l and C i s t e r c i a n , the l a t t e r notably more worldly i n i t s viewpoint and s i m p l e r . ^ In moral doctrine the Queste, l i k e Citeaux, i s predominantly p a c i f i s t , taking great pains to avoid homicide. The only k i l l e r among the G r a i l knights i s Gawain, and his conduct i s roundly condemned. Perlesvaus, on the other hand, i s unabashedly homicidal: the New Law i s established at sword point, the G r a i l Castle i s conquered by force of arms, the personal enemy of Perceval's mother i s put to a barbarous death, the heads of s l a i n enemies are borne about as 58 trophies, and r e t r i b u t i o n i s exacted at times from en t i r e t r i b e s . As f o r the concept of sa l v a t i o n , the Queste presents the G r a i l i t s e l f as the receptacle of grace, to be offered to the pure i n heart, whose surrender to i t s influence i s the essence of t h e i r quest and the measure of the i r success i n fi n d i n g adventure. Such notions of s e l f -surrender are u t t e r l y foreign to Perlesvaus, as i s most v i v i d l y i l l u s -trated i n the contrasting attitudes of the two Lancelots toward s i n and repentance. In the image of e c c l e s i a s t i c a l l i f e there are also d i s t i n c t i o n s . Monastic l i f e i n the Queste i s coenobitic: the r e l i g i o u s who rear Galahad and who appear r e g u l a r l y as exegetes are white monks, 11 Cis t e r c i a n s l i v i n g a common l i f e . In Perlesvaus, on the other hand, exegetes, confessors, informants, custodians of r e l i c s and even knights 60 who have r e t i r e d from the world are a l l hermits. In general o r i e n t a t i o n , Nitze believes, the Queste unequivocally turns inward, Perlesvaus outward. Where the knights of the Queste are i n v i t e d to a mystical negation of s e l f and inward p u r i f i c a t i o n , those of Perlesvaus are exhorted to struggle and-suffer to promote the triumph of the New Law over i t s enemies. Between the two romances there i s a clear 61 opposition of mysticism to the "rugged C h r i s t i a n i t y of the borderland". Jean Marx i s conscious of the same general d i f f e r e n c e i n s p i r i t and atmosphere between Perlesvaus and the Queste, but he i s struck par-t i c u l a r l y by the contrasting r o l e and personality of the p r i n c i p a l characters. Perceval i n Perlesvaus i s a conqueror i n God's service, strengthened by the power of God's grace, guided by God's hand on a mysterious voyage, and performing functions p a r a l l e l to those of C h r i s t ; . but Galahad goes far beyond that, overcoming his enemies almost without e f f o r t and embodying within himself something very close to the power 62 of God i t s e l f . The m i l i t a n t , crusading s p i r i t of Perlesvaus, which struck Nitze, also impresses Marx, who finds the prominence of obligatory conversion, the' reduction of C h r i s t i a n evangelisation to a struggle between the New Law and the Old, and even such d e t a i l s as the use of the Templars' symbol on Joseph of Arimathea's s h i e l d to contribute to 63 an ethos markedly d i f f e r e n t from that of the Queste. Like Nitze, too, Marx i s aware of a stronger C e l t i c undertone to Perlesvaus than to the Queste. The voyages of Saint Brendan are evoked by Perceval's 12 ship, and on the Marvelous Island the C e l t i c underworld i s blended with the h e l l i n which the Just awaited C h r i s t , j u s t as the two are combined i n 64 numerous t a l e s . The hero also j o i n s i n a t r a d i t i o n a l family ven-detta to avenge his mother and s i s t e r i n notably b r u t a l f a s h i o n — i n t e r -rupting h i s sacred mission to do so. This i s also t y p i c a l of C e l t i c 65 legend, and i s unthinkable i n the atmosphere of the Queste. In composition too Marx finds the two romances d i f f e r e n t . A symbolic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , r e f l e c t i n g t h e o l o g i c a l doctrines, i s placed on the events of Perlesvaus, but that i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s an addition ex post facto to a s e r i e s of adventures i n s p i r e d by C e l t i c t r a d i t i o n s and crusading values. In t h i s respect Perlesvaus i s u t t e r l y removed from the Queste, which i s c a r e f u l l y worked out according to a plan that i s r i g -66 orously t h e o l o g i c a l from the beginning. Bruce and Loomis both concentrate t h e i r comparisons of Perlesvaus and the Queste on the differences--and occasionally the s i m i l a r i t i e s — between the kinds of r e l i g i o u s s p i r i t animating each. For Bruce the thoroughly C h r i s t i a n , even e c c l e s i a s t i c a l character of the Queste i s so b l a t a n t l y obvious as to demand no proof, and s i m i l a r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are v i r t u a l l y as prominent i n Perlesvaus: a s c e t i c a l tendencies, ex-c l u s i o n of love, veneration of r e l i c s , regular C h r i s t i a n worship, and the p o r t r a y a l of the i s l a n d kingdom to which the G r a i l i s transfered i n the end as a monastic s t a t e . ^ Bruce notes d i f f e r e n c e s , however, l a r g e l y involving what Perlesvaus includes and the Queste does not. Apart from the actual G r a i l quest, Perlesvaus i s f i l l e d with sub-plots and a d d i t i o n a l i n c i d e n t s , l a r g e l y of a secular character, and even c e r t a i n of the G r a i l motifs themselves have a d i s t i n c t l y secular 13 cast: the Fisher King dies l i k e any ordinary mortal, for example, and the f i n a l achievement of the G r a i l adventure i s simply the capture of 68 a c a s t l e by force of arms. Bruce's conclusions could f a i r l y be couched i n Marx's terms: a more chivalrous, crusading, m i l i t a n t and equally more C e l t i c Perlesvaus contrasted with a mystical and more narrowly t h e o l o g i c a l Queste. K-oger Sherman Loomis shares not only Bruce's view of the differences between the Queste and Perlesvaus, but also h i s d i s t a s t e for the l a t t e r and for i t s author, whom he characterizes as schizophrenic. His analysis of the differences between the two texts i s laced with value judgments highly unfavourable to Perlesvaus, but i t does include the basic f a c t s as w e l l . Perlesvaus i s very much concerned with r e l i c s , miracles and mass conversions by the sword, and i t s hero accomplishes h i s mission by violence that even extends to man-slaughter. The Queste, on the other hand, i s an allegory of the monastic l i f e , i n which external c o n f l i c t s are interpreted as the 69 inner struggles of the seeker a f t e r holiness. Notwithstanding h i s strong f e e l i n g s , Loomis confirms the impression already established by others, of a contrast between the crusading s p i r i t and the mystical, of C h r i s t i a n i n s p i r a t i o n as opposed to C e l t i c , of outward evangelisation compared to inner conversion. In r e l i g i o u s doctrine, form and ethos there i s a c l e a r and rather easy to describe d i f f e r e n c e between Perlesvaus and the Queste. J. Neale Carman acknowledges the obvious differences c i t e d by others. Perceval i s the hero of one romance, Galahad of the other. The G r a i l i s d i f f e r e n t i n character and approached by d i f f e r e n t means. No one i n Perlesvaus would dream of c a l l i n g i t the grace of the Holy 14 S p i r i t , as happens i n the Queste. He attaches great s i g n i f i c a n c e , however, to s i x pairs of analogous episodes i n the two texts. These include: the incident of the G r a i l Knight's shield with the red c r o s s ; ^ Cahus's theft of a candlestick i n Perlesvaus, and Meliant's 71 of a crown i n the Queste; the duel that the G r a i l Knight f i g h t s near 72 the hermitage of a recluse r e l a t i v e of Perceval's; two episodes i n which Arthur, i n Perlesvaus, and Lancelot, i n the Queste, attend the 73 sick; the two tournaments i n which knights of the Round Table 74 champion widow l a d i e s i n danger of lo s i n g t h e i r property; and the i n i t i a l appearance of the mysterious ship i n each t e x t . ^ Carman finds s i m i l a r i t i e s i n narrative d e t a i l , s o c i a l custom, moral and r e l i g i o u s values, and symbolism within the pairs of episodes, s i m i l a r i t i e s for the most part too complex for simple borrowing, but too clear and s t r i k i n g for coincidence. He believes them to be e v i -dence that, despite the s u p e r f i c i a l differences between them, Perlesvaus and the Queste are insp i r e d , at le a s t i n part, by a common s p i r i t and outlook. To provide further evidence for the existence of that common s p i r i t and to explore i t s nature w i l l be among the functions of this study, and to express the re l a t i o n s h i p of that common s p i r i t to the p a r t i c u l a r themes c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Perlesvaus and of the Queste w i l l be i t s ultimate aim, but i n deference to the widespread view that the two romances are very d i f f e r e n t , they w i l l f i r s t be treated separately, and t h e i r d i s t i n g u i s h i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w i l l be analysed. In the case of Perlesvaus these d i s t i n c t i v e t r a i t s w i l l be found to a r i s e i n several d i f f e r e n t ways out of the concept of apocalypticism. Both externally and i n t e r n a l l y , i n i t s plot and i n 15 i t s meaning, Perlesvaus i s apocalyptic, and even more s p e c i f i c a l l y , i t i s Joachimite, marked by the p a r t i c u l a r apocalyptic theories expounded by Joachim of F i o r e . Fundamental to a l l types of apocalyptic v i s i o n i s the d i v i s i o n of the world into armed camp's1 for the great struggle that w i l l determine the future, and j u s t such a d i v i s i o n i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Perlesvaus . As the story progresses, the various protagonists and antagonists, who begin as r i v a l s , or i n d i v i d u a l s with grievances, or hereditary enemies, are gradually drawn more and more firml y into the ranks of e i t h e r one of two p a r t i e s : the champions of the Old Law or of the New, God's enemies or h i s f r i e n d s . Moreover, they come to be associated with others of t h e i r party i n other ages or i n the other world. Visions, r i t u a l actions and r e l i c s a l l help i n this process of a s s o c i a t i o n across the bounds of time and space. The goal of the heroes i n this struggle i s a form of c o l l e c t i v e , material s a l v a t i o n . At a time of c r i s i s , when much of th e i r society and way of l i f e have been destroyed or are under threat, they are s t r i v i n g to pass success-f u l l y into a new age and a new kind of l i f e . This p a r t i c u l a r type of apocalyptic scenario, i n which the destruction of the present age i s the great menace, and the coming of a new age represents s a l v a t i o n , i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Joachimite theory of h i s t o r y , and c e r t a i n features of the new age i n Perlesvaus—notably the pride of place accorded to v i r g i n s and to hermits — i s equally Joachimite. Joachim of Fiore's scheme of h i s t o r y i s an important inte g r a t i n g p r i n c i p l e of the p l o t of Perlesvaus, and Joachimite apocalypticism i s a major theme running throughout the a c t i o n . The Joachimite character of Perlesvaus is not confined to the action. Joachim's p a r t i c u l a r concept of meaning i s equally c r u c i a l to 16 understanding the s i g n i f i c a n c e of that action. Many incidents are explained w i t h i n the narrative by hermit exegetes provided by the author for that purpose, and their, explanations consistently follow the Joachimite technique known as concordia l i t t e r a e , which i s a system of explanation by h i s t o r i c a l p a r a l l e l . Even actions not formally ex-plained by exegetes make sense i f interpreted by the same p r i n c i p l e s : as we s h a l l see, for example, the ca r e f u l preservation of the remains and of the i d e n t i t y of the dead i s rela t e d to the importance of estab-l i s h i n g contact with an i n d i v i d u a l ' s h i s t o r i c a l counterpart. Just as the Joachimite scheme of h i s t o r y integrates the p l o t , so, too, does the Joachimite concept of meaning provide sense and coherence to the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of that p l o t . Perlesvaus describes an attempt to save Christendom from i t s enemies, and i t explores the r o l e of i n d i v i d u a l s i n that attempt, and the means by which they might discover that r o l e . The Queste del saint Graal, on the other hand, i s far l e s s con-cerned with the future of Christendom. Where i n Perlesvaus the r o l e of the i n d i v i d u a l i s subordinated to a h i s t o r i c a l process, i n the Queste the l i f e — a n d more p r e c i s e l y the inner l i f e — o f the i n d i v i d u a l i s of primary importance. L i f e i n the Queste i s sacramental: external actions are determined by the inner state of one's soul, and a l l the tr u l y s i g n i f i c a n t b a t t l e s take place within. The Queste i s thus as consistently mystical i n i t s o r i e n t a t i o n as Perlesvaus i s apocalyptic. The inner, s p i r i t u a l l i f e of the i n d i v i d u a l s i n the Queste does have a purpose i n the external world, however. As i n Perlesvaus, a society and a way of l i f e are passing away: c h i v a l r y and the p r i n c i -ples on which i t i s founded are dying. Here there i s no s a l v a t i o n 17 for the society, no new age to be entered, but the chivalrous l i f e i t s e l f i s to be kept a l i v e i n c e r t a i n p r i v i l e g e d i n d i v i d u a l s who w i l l continue to perform noble and valorous deeds i n v i r t u e of the strength derived from t h e i r inner holiness. The s a l v a t i o n of knighthood through inner v i r t u e i s a major and integrating theme of the Queste, comparable to the s a l v a t i o n of Christendom through apocalyptic struggle i n Perlesvaus. Exploring the r o l e of i n d i v i d u a l s i n the process of s a l v a t i o n i s also a concern of the Queste, and here, as i n Perlesvaus, a par-t i c u l a r way of viewing knowledge and meaning i s c r u c i a l . Knowledge i s consi s t e n t l y presented i n the Queste as re v e l a t i o n , and the content of that r e v e l a t i o n i s as cons i s t e n t l y banal: i t i s always r e a d i l y under-standable and e a s i l y knowable by more conventional means. The imparting of knowledge i s not r e a l l y concerned with what i s known, but rather with who knows: i t i s a process of e l e c t i o n , by which secrets are withheld from the unworthy and revealed to the deserving so that the l a t t e r may be further perfected by grace i n that inner holiness through which they can perform knightly deeds of valour. Where i n Perlesvaus the r o l e of i n d i v i d u a l s i s determined by h i s t o r i c a l structure, i n the Queste i t i s fixed by w i l l — u l t i m a t e l y by the w i l l of God—operating through a process of r e v e l a t i o n and concealment. In summary, then, the di s t i n g u i s h i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Perlesvaus, as they w i l l be set out i n d e t a i l i n the course of this study, include Joachimite apocalypticism, the struggle to save Christen-dom, and the preeminence of h i s t o r i c a l structures i n determining the place and r o l e of i n d i v i d u a l s . The comparable t r a i t s of the Queste are a mystical and sacramental view of l i f e , the preservation of 18 knighthood as a way of l i v i n g , and the determinant function of w i l l , exercised through r e v e l a t i o n and concealment, i n f i x i n g the r o l e of ind i v i d u a l s and the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the i r l i v e s . Present alongside these d i s t i n g u i s h i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are c e r t a i n shared features, the components of that common s p i r i t that Carman was aware of. These include such obvious points as that knights do b a t t l e with one another and that the C h r i s t i a n f a i t h i s expounded i n some form i n both romances but they also comprise something more s p e c i f i c . At the same time that they treat general notions of ch i v a l r y and C h r i s t i a n i t y Perlesvaus and the Queste both deal with the more'precise theme of t r a n s i t i o n . In each case a society i s breaking up and old. values are lo s i n g t h e i r v a l i d i t y and e f f i c a c y . This i s not necessarily the p r i n c i p l e theme of either work. No doubt the nature of the new age and the war to be waged against the enemies of the New Law are more prominent i n Perlesvaus than i s the bald f a c t of t r a n s i t i o n from age to age, and i n the Queste the p r i n c i p l e of inner holiness as the basis of knightly prowess i s accorded more importance than i s the decline of the old values. The notion of t r a n s i t i o n i s present, however, as an abiding concern: i f a t r a n s i t i o n were not i n progress, no struggle would have to be waged i n Perlesvaus, and no new set of inner, s p i r i t u a l , sacramental values would be required to preserve knighthood i n the Queste. T r a n s i t i o n i s an important common element i n the plot of the two works, and i t i s even more important i n the imagery and symbolism. A comprehensive understanding of the meaning of Perlesvaus and of the Queste d e l saint Graal may be derived from the study of the i n t e r -play between d i s t i n c t i v e orientations toward the apocalyptic and the 19 mystical, the external and the i n t e r n a l , on the one hand, and an abiding, shared preoccupation with-the phenomenon of t r a n s i t i o n on the other. The term "preoccupation" w i l l not recur frequently i n this study, l a r g e l y because i t might so e a s i l y suggest the idea of neurosis on the part of an author or of psycho-analysis on the part of the c r i t i c , and neither i s the concern of t h i s work. I t would not be wholly erron-eous, however, to think i n terms of an i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p between a pre-occupying theme and an integ r a t i n g theme i n each romance. The pre-occupying theme i s common to both, and i s transition. I t finds i t s place i n the p l o t and i n the explanations offered by the authors, but i t i s pr i m a r i l y a vaguer awareness that i s best expressed i n image and symbol. The i n t e g r a t i n g theme i s more s p e c i f i c , more conscious, and proper to each text. I t i s the author's conscious response to h i s vaguer aware-ness that the structures and values of l i f e are s h i f t i n g . I t i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c way of thinking about what he senses and of a r t i c u l a t i n g i t s meaning, and i s the source of. the i n t e g r i t y and consistency of each author's presentation of his material. The consciousness of t r a n s i t i o n i s always present as an undercurrent, i n the Queste and i n Perlesvaus a l i k e . The terms i n which i t i s understood, expressed and explained are proper to each. The preoccupation and i t s a r t i c u l a t i o n s , the under-l y i n g awareness and the overt response are the subject matter of t h i s t h e s i s . 20 Notes to Introduction ^Albert Pauphilet, "La Queste del saint Graal du ms. B.N. f r . 343," Romania XXXVI (1907), pp. 591-609. 2 Myrrha Lot-Borodine, Tr o i s Essais sur l e roman du Lancelot du  Lac et l a Quete du saint Graal ( P a r i s , 1913). 3 Lot-Borodine, "Les Deux Conquerants du Graal: Perceval et Galaad," Romania XLVII (1921), pp. 41-97. 4 . . Pauphilet, Etudes sur l a Queste del saint Graal a t t r i b u t e a Gautier Map (Paris: Honore Champion, 1921, reissued 1968). ^Pauphilet, ed., La Queste del Saint Graal, (Paris: C.F.M.A., 1923, reprinted 1949). ^Etienne Gilson, "La Mystique de l a grace dans l a Queste del  saint Graal," Les Idees et l e s l e t t r e s (Paris: V r i n , 1932), pp. 55-91. W^. E. Hamilton, "L*Interpretation mystique de l a Queste del  saint Graal," Neophilologus XXVII (1942), pp. 94-110. g Pauphilet, Le Legs du moyen-age (Paris, 1950). 9 Lot-Borodine, "Les Apparitions du C h r i s t aux messes . . . de l ' E s t o i r e et de l a Queste del saint Graal," Romania LXXII (1951), pp. 202-223. "^Lot-Borodine, "Les Grands Secrets du saint Graal dans l a Queste du pseudo-Map," i n Rene N e l l i , ed., Lumiere du Graal. "'"''"Rene N e l l i , ed., Lumiere du Graal' (Paris: Cahiers du Sud , 1951) . 12 Yves l e H i r , "L'Element b i b l i q u e dans l a Queste d e l saint  Graal," i n N e l l i , op. c i t . 13 Rene Guenon, "Esoterisme du Graal," i n N e l l i , op. c i t . 14 Frederick Locke, "La Queste del saint Graal: a S t r u c t u r a l Analysis," D i s s e r t a t i o n , Harvard, 1953-54, and "A New Approach to the Study of the Queste del saint Graal," Romanic Review XLV (1954), pp. 241-250. 21 "'"^Jean Frappier, "Le Graal et l a chevalerie," Romania LXXV (1954), pp. 165-210. 16 M. Irenee Vallery-Radot, "Les Sources d'un roman c i s t e r c i e n : l a Queste d e l saint Graal," Collectanea o r d i n i s cisterciensium reformatorum XVII (1955). "^Locke, The Quest for the Holy G r a i l : a L i t e r a r y Study of a  13th. Century French Romance, Stanford Studies i n Language and L i t e r a t u r e XXI, (Stanford University Press, 1960). 18 Helen Hennessy, "The Uniting of Romance and Allegory i n La Queste del saint Graal," Boston University Studies i n English IV (1960) , pp. 189-201. 19 Jean Charles Payen, "Y a - t - i l un repentir c i s t e r c i e n dans l a l i t t e r a t u r e francaise medievale?" Commentarii Cistercienses XII (1961) , pp. 120-132. "Le Sens du peche dans l a l i t t e r a t u r e c istercienne en langue d ' o i l , " Citeaux XIII (1962), pp. 282-295. Le Motif du repentir dans l a l i t t e r a t u r e francaise medievale des  ori g i n e s a 1230 (Geneva, 1968). 20 Pie r r e Jonin, "Des premiers ermites a ceux de l a Queste del  s a i n t Graal," Annales de l a f a c u l t e des l e t t r e s et sciences humaines  d'Aix XLIV (1968), pp. 293-350. ^"'"William L. Boletta, "Earthly and S p i r i t u a l Sustenance i n La Queste del s a i n t Graal," Romance Notes X (1968-69), pp. 384-88. 2 2 Luc Cornet, "Trois episodes de l a Queste del s a i n t Graal," Melanges o f f e r t s a R i t a Lejeune , Vol. I I , (Gembloux, 1969), pp. 983-998. 23 Grace Savage, "Narrative Technique i n the Queste del saint  Graal," D i s s e r t a t i o n , Princeton, 1973, D i s s e r t a t i o n Abstracts XXXIV (1973-74), 5203A. 24 Mary Hynes-Berry, "Relation and Meaning i n the Queste del  sai n t Graal and Malory's Tale of the Sankgraal, D i s s e r t a t i o n 1975, D i s s e r t a t i o n Abstracts XXXV (1974-75), 2941A-2942A. 25 Esther Quinn, 'Beyond Courtly Love: Religious Elements i n T r i s t a n and La Queste del saint Graal," i n Joan Ferrante and George Economou, ed., In Pursuit of Perfe c t i o n (Port Washington: Kennikat Press, 1975). 22 26 Sr. Mary Isabel, "The Knights of God, Cxteaux and the Quest of the Holy G r a i l , " i n The Influence of Saint Bernard (Oxford, 1976). 27 Pauline-Matarassoy.. The Redemption of Chivalry: a Study of  the Queste d e l s a i n t Graal (Geneva: Droz, 1979). 28 Charles Potvin, ed. Perceval l e G a l l o i s ou l e conte du Graal, 6 v o l s . , (Mons: Societe des B i b l i o p h i l e s Beiges, 1866-1871). The text of Perlesvaus i n t h i s c o l l e c t i o n i s based on a si n g l e manuscript, no. 11,145 i n the l i b r a r y of the Dukes of Burgundy i n Brussels. 29 William Nitze, The Old French G r a i l Romance Perlesvaus: P r i n c i p a l Sources (Baltimore: Murphy, 1902). 30 Nitze, "The Glastonbury Passages i n the Perlesvaus," Studies  i n Philology 15 (1918), pp. 7-13. Nitze, "On the Chronology of the G r a i l Romances," Modern Philology 17 (1919-1920), pp. 151-166. 31 Je s s i e Weston, "The Perlesvaus and the Vengeance Raguidel," Romania XLVII (1921), pp. 349-359. 32 Weston,"The Relation of Perlesvaus to the C y c l i c Romances," Romania LI (1925), pp. 348-362. 33 Weston, "The Perlesvaus and the Coward Knight," Modern  Philology XX (1922-23), pp. 379-389. 34 James Douglas Bruce, The Evolution of Arthurian Romance from  the Beginnings down to the Year 1300 , (Gbttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1923). See Vol. 2, pp. 145-172. 35 Helen Muchnic, "The Coward Knight and the Damsel of the Car," PMLA XLIII (1928), pp. 323-342. 3 6 William A. Nitze and T. Atkinson Jenkins, eds., Le Haut  Liv r e du Graal: Perlesvaus, 2 v o l s . (Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press, 1932, 1937). Nitze also contributed a very short a r t i c l e i n 1932, "On the Origin of P e l l e s , " to A Miscellany of Studies i n Romance  Lang.uages and L i t e r a t u r e s , presented to Leon A. Kastner, eds., Mary Williams and James A. de Rothschild, (Cambridge, 1932), pp. 361-363. 37 Mary" Williams, "The Keepers of the Threshold i n the Romance of Perlesvaus," Kastner Miscellany, pp. 560-567; and "A Propos of an Episode i n Perlesvaus," F o l k l o r e XLVIII (1937), pp. 263-266. Reprinted as "The Episode of the Copper Tower i n Perlesvaus," Melanges o f f e r t s a  Rita Lejeune, professeur a l ' U n i v e r s i t e de Liege, (Gembloux: J. Duculot, 1969) . 23 38 Marjorie Williamson, "The Dream of Cahus i n Perlesvaus," Modern Philology XXX (1932-33), pp. 5-11. 39 B. Weinberg, "The Magic Chessboard i n the Perlesvaus: an Example of Medieval L i t e r a r y Borrowing," PMLA L (1935), pp. 25-35. 40 H. L. Robinson, "The Sword of St.. John the Baptist i n the Perlesvaus," Modern Language Notes LI (1936), pp. 25-27. ^"'"William Roach, "The Religious Elements i n the Perlesvaus," D i s s e r t a t i o n , Chicago, 1935. 42 J. Neale Carman, "The Relationship of the Perlesvaus and the Queste del saint Graal," B u l l e t i n of the University of Kansas  Humanities Studies IV, 4 (July, 1936) . 43 Roach, "Eucha r i s t i c T r a d i t i o n i n the Perlesvaus," Z e i t s c h r i f t  fu*r romanische P h i l o l o g i e LIX (1939), pp. 10-56. 44 Williams, "Notes on Perlesvaus," Speculum XIV (1939), pp. 199-208. 45 A. H. Krappe, "Sur l'Episode de l a v i l l e brulante du Perlesvaus," Z e i t s c h r i f t fUr franzbsische Sprache und L i t e r a t u r 62 (1939), pp. 404-408. 46 Carman, "The Symbolism of the Perlesvaus," PMLA LXI (1946), pp. 42-83. 47 Carman, "Was P e l l e s the Fisher King?" Romance Philology I I I (1950), pp. 272-275. 48 Lucien Foulet, "Sur l a chronologie et l a langue des oeuvres du XHIe s i e c l e , " Romania LXXX (1959), p. 515. 49 Loomis, "Some Add i t i o n a l Sources of Perlesvaus," Romania LXXXI (1960), pp. 492-499. ""^Carman, "The Perlesvaus and B r i s t o l Channel," Research  Studies (Washington State) XXXII (1964), pp. 85-105. ^''"Frederick Whitehead, "Observations on the Perlesvaus," Melanges de langue et de l i t t e r a t u r e du moyen age et de l a renaissance  o f f e r t s a Jean Frappier, professeur a l a Sorbonne, par ses collegues, ses eleves et ses amis, 2 v o l s . , (Geneva: Droz, 1970), pp. 1119-27. 24 52 Loomis, "The Concept of Joseph of Arimathea i n Perlesvaus," Melanges . . . Jean Frappier, pp. 689-96. 53 Carman, "The Conquests of the G r a i l Castle and the Dolorous Guard," PMLA LXXXV (1970), pp. 433-43. 54 Jeanne Lods, "Symbolisme chretien, t r a d i t i o n celtique et v e r i t e psychologique dans l e s personnages feminins du Perlesvaus," Melanges de langue et de l i t t e r a t u r e medievales o f f e r t s a Pierre  Le G e n t i l , (Paris: S.E.D.E.S., 1973), pp. 505-522. "^Thomas K e l l y , Le Haut L i v r e du Graal: Perlesvaus: a  St r u c t u r a l Study (Geneva: Droz, 1974). " ^ K e l l y , "Love i n the Perlesvaus: S i n f u l Passion or Redemptive Force?" Romanic Review LXVI (1975), pp. 1-12. "^Nitze and Jenkins, ed., Le Haut L i v r e . . ., Vol. 2, p. 83. 58 Ibid., pp. 83-84. Nitze also points out that, unlike the moral code of the Queste, these standards of behaviour derive from C e l t i c sources. In his support he c i t e s Livy X, 26; Strabo i v , 4, 4; C. J u l i a n , H i s t o i r e de l a Gaule I I , 201, and Windisch, I r i s c h e Texte Extraband 1-4, p. x x i i i . 59 Ibid., p. 84. ^ I b i d . , p. 85. ^"*"Ibid ., p. 87 . 6 2 Jean Marx, "Ou en est l a question des rapports du Perlesvaus et de l a Queste del saint Graal?" Nouvelles recherches sur l a  l i t t e r a t u r e arthurienne (Paris: KLincksieck, 1965). 6 3 I b i d . , p. 235. 64 Ibid ., loc . c i t . 65 Ibid., p. 236. 66 Ibid., l o c . c i t . 67 Bruce, The Evolution of Arthurian Romance . . . , pp. 17-18. 25 6 8 I b i d . , p. 19. 69 Loomis, The G r a i l : from C e l t i c Myth to C h r i s t i a n Symbol (C a r d i f f : University of Wales Press, 1963). ^Carman, "The Relationship . . . ," pp. 51-52. 7 L L b i d . , pp. 52-57. 72 Ibi d . , pp. 58 - 60. 73 Ibid., pp. 61-62. 74 Ib i d . , pp. 63-65, ^ I b i d . , pp. 66-68. CHAPTER I APOCALYPSE IN ARTHUR'S KINGDOM: PERLESVAUS The author of Perlesvaus, l i k e so many other creators of mediaeval romances, i s anonymous, and he i s not known to have written anything els e . There i s thus no other source on which to base an under standing of h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of what was happening i n his own l i f e or i n the l i v e s of those around him. Perlesvaus i s a l l we have. Yet i t i enough, just i n i t s e l f , to t e l l us much of what we would l i k e to know about the mind that created i t . Perlesvaus i s an apocalyptic t a l e . I t presents the world as locked i n a fundamental, all-encompassing struggle between forces of good and forces of e v i l , a struggle being fought out among human men and women through the course of h i s t o r y , as well as among superhuman forces i n the other world, a struggle p i t t i n g God and a l l h i s f r i e n d s , of every kind, i n every age, i n every place, against a l l h i s enemies, whatever and wherever they may be. For each human being p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n that struggle i s the one experience i n l i f e of ultimate importance, and the coming d e f i n i t i v e climax i n which God's foes w i l l do t h e i r worst but f a i l and be defeated by God's f a i t h f u l followers* i s the great event i n human h i s t o r y to be looked forward to. Perlesvaus does not t e l l the story of the end time and the millenium as described i n the Book of Revelation of the New Testament 27 or i n other o v e r t l y m i l l e n a r i a n works inspired by i t . It does, however, presuppose the whole background of that story, and incorporates the l i v e s and the adventures of the Arthurian knights into i t . The theory that Perlesvaus expresses an apocalyptic conception of l i f e i s not o r i g i n a l , though i t has not been elaborated into a systematic explanation. E a r l i e r c r i t i c s , while p r i m a r i l y interested i n other aspects of the text, have l e f t some material out of which the beginnings of an apocalyptic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n can be constructed. Notable among them are Thomas Kelly,"'" who wrote a s t r u c t u r a l study of Perlesvaus, 2 Jean-Charles Payen, who studied the concept of repentance i n a number 3 of mediaeval works, and Helen Adolf, who investigated the Jewish i n f l u -ence on the Arthurian legend i n general. Among them they point to a s i g n i f i c a n t number of incidents with clear p a r a l l e l s i n the apocalyptic t r a d i t i o n and even i n the canonical Book of Revelation i t s e l f . Among the more b l a t a n t l y apocalyptic incidents c i t e d by K e l l y i s the destruction of the Black Hermit, k i l l e d by a s i n g l e blow and 4 thrown d i r e c t l y into the stinking p i t , j u s t as the d e v i l i s thrown into the lake of f i r e and brimstone i n Revelation 20:9-10. The other place of condemnation, the pool of f i r e into which are thrown Death and Hades and a l l those whose names are not written i n the book.of l i f e , i s evoked by the p i t which opens up under the chain descending from heaven at the Castle of the Four H o r n s . L i k e those consigned to the p i t , those who are to r e i g n with C h r i s t for a thousand years are also brought to mind i n Perlesvaus, by the heads sealed i n gold, which Perceval takes with him to the Plenteous Island, whereas the heads sealed i n s i l v e r (the Jews) and those i n lead (the Saracens) 28 are sent to the Poverty-stricken Island by the Hermit King. The apocalyptic view of l i f e includes more than j u s t a doctrine of the l a s t things, and Perlesvaus i s also reminiscent i n places of some of these other aspects. A tendency to r e j o i c e , v i r t u a l l y to gloat over the fate of the unrighteous i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Book of Revelation, where that fate i s part of the C h r i s t i a n ' s hope: the great c a n t i c l e of Revelation 19, i n which the twenty-four elders and the four l i v i n g creatures worship the Lord seated on h i s throne, and the multitude r e j o i c e s i n the marriage of the Lamb, begins with the exal-t a t i o n of d i v i n e vengeance: " s a l v a t i o n and glory and power belong to our God, for h i s judgments.are true and j u s t ; he has judged the great h a r l o t who corrupted the earth with her f o r n i c a t i o n , and he has avenged on her the blood of h i s servants . . . . P i t y toward sinners i s simply not c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the apocalyptic outlook, and i n t h i s respect Perlesvaus runs as true to form as does the Book of Revelation. The knight who would throw an innocent maiden into the Serpents' Ditch g i s overcome by Perceval and himself thrown into the Ditch to d i e . A r i s t o r i s decapitated, and the d i v i n e w i l l i s invoked to j u s t i f y h i s death even when he seeks pardon and wishes to be reconciled with Perceval: "De vostre haine me s o f e r r a i j e bien, ce m'est avis d'or en avant, f a i t Perlesvaus, mais l a v i e ne puet plus demorer en vos, car 9 vos l'avez bien deservi, e Damledex ne l e v e l t s o f r i r . " More b r u t a l l y s t i l l , the Lord of the Moors i s drowned i n the blood of h i s s l a i n followers, and t h i s vengeance i s j u s t i f i e d by an even more uncompromising d e c l a r a t i o n of God's v i n d i c t i v e w i l l : "Dex commanda en l a Viez L o i et en l a Nouvele que l'en f e i s t j u s t i c e des omicides et des t r a i t o r s , "et je 29 l a fere de vos; j a ses conmandemenz ne i e r t t r e s p a s s e z . I f Perlesvaus has no exact p a r a l l e l to the seven bowls of the wrath of God of Revelation 16, i t nonetheless breathes the same vengeful . . 11 s p i r i t . Other le s s absolutely apocalyptic features are nonetheless compatible with an apocalyptic world-view. The phenomenon of waiting belongs i n t h i s category. In a t y p i c a l incident Perceval comes upon a knight l y i n g i n a glass b a r r e l , whose i d e n t i t y w i l l be revealed to 12 him only when he returns. He i s not necessarily waiting for the end time, but h i s glass b a r r e l r e c a l l s another glass b a r r e l , i n which the legendary f i g u r e of Alexander the Great passed through h i s adventure beneath the waves, and Alexander, whether he i s bu i l d i n g a wall for defence against the t r i b e s of Gog and Magog, or taking a c e l e s t i a l journey, or being r e c a l l e d a f t e r h i s death to f i g h t the b a t t l e s of heaven as the Emperor of the End Time, i s a recurring character i n apocalyptic w r i t i n g s . This mysterious knight i s not, of course, the only or the p r i n c i p a l f i g u r e waiting for some future event. The Fisher King l i e s wounded, waiting to be healed, and h i s s i t u a t i o n can also be i n t e r -preted a p o c a l y p t i c a l l y , e s p e c i a l l y i f the t i t l e "Messios" given to 14 him has the Jewish roots that Helen Adolf would a t t r i b u t e to i t . In c e r t a i n mediaeval Jewish t e x t s ^ there i s a pre-existent Messiah l y i n g s i c k i n bed i n the f i f t h compartment of paradise, waiting f o r his time to come. Apart from E l i j a h a l l the inhabitants of t h i s paradise are merely'souls, so that i t i s as much a Castle of Souls 16 as i s the Fisher King's c a s t l e , though i t does not bear that t i t l e , 30 and the t i t l e Eden, also given to the c a s t l e i n Perlesvaus, would not be an unsuitable name for a paradise. I t i s p l a u s i b l e , then, that the Fisher King waiting for the promised knight to heal him, and bearing the t i t l e "Messios", may be a r e f l e c t i o n of the Jewish Messiah i n paradise waiting f o r the end time. There i s also a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c apocalyptic morality, and the oft-discussed question of Lancelot's repentance, or at l e a s t amendment of l i f e , a f t e r h i s long adulterous r e l a t i o n s h i p with Guenevere, seems to have t i e s to i t . Jean-Charles Payen^ sees the author as drawn i n two d i r e c t i o n s at once: on grounds of C h r i s t i a n morality he condemns courtly love, but as a psychologist of the heart (the term i s Payen's) he i s reluctant to disparage i t , and he does not make h i s hermit con-fessor deny Lancelot's assertion that h i s prowess i s in s p i r e d by love. He sees Lancelot's willingness to do penance, but h i s i n a b i l i t y to be sorry for what he has done, as r a i s i n g the question of divine mercy: why should God not forgive those who are incapable of repentance? If the usual notion of divin e grace and mercy i s joined to the apocalyptic understanding of redemption, then the answer to Payen's question becomes "God should f o r g i v e " , and the apparent l a x i t y of Lancelot's confessor becomes quite p l a u s i b l e . In apocalyptic perspec-t i v e redemption i s not p r i m a r i l y the saving of the i n d i v i d u a l soul, but the overcoming of the powers of e v i l . I t i s a c o l l e c t i v e process i n which the i n d i v i d u a l ' s r o l e i s less to be holy than to be devoted to the cause and e f f e c t i v e i n defending i t . So long as Lancelot su f f e r s anguish and t r a v a i l i n the arduous task of winning the world for C h r i s t , he i s f a i t h f u l l y and suc c e s s f u l l y carrying out his p r i n c i p a l 31 mission i n l i f e , and his p r i v a t e behaviour becomes not inconsequential 18 but c e r t a i n l y f o r g i v a b l e . Various apocalyptic motifs are thus a common feature of Perlesvaus, and are widely recognized by c r i t i c s . Images of the place of f i n a l punishment, incidents of divine vengeance, the expectation of the end time and the pe c u l i a r morality of c o l l e c t i v e struggle against the power of e v i l have a l l been i d e n t i f i e d as s i g n i f i c a n t aspects of the work. I t draws heavily on apocalypticism for i t s contents. Less widely recognized, however, i s the dependence of Perlesvaus on apoca-l y p t i c t r a d i t i o n f o r i t s thematic coherence and unity. Quite apart from the i n d i v i d u a l motifs evocative of the Book of Revelation and of other s i m i l a r texts, there i s a b a s i c a l l y apocalyptic pattern to Perlesvaus. I t s p l o t i s l a r g e l y taken up by warfare of d i f f e r e n t kinds i n v o l v i n g a great v a r i e t y of adversaries, and the apparent fragmentation of feuds, p r i v a t e wars and o f f i c i a l campaigns i s i n t e -grated by the p r i n c i p l e of the one apocalyptic struggle of good and e v i l forces, i n which a l l l e s s e r and p a r t i a l confrontations p a r t i c i p a t e and from which they derive t h e i r meaning and purpose. The many and disparate b a t t l e s i n Perlesvaus form one war, and that war i s the ultimate contest p i t t i n g a l l God's friends against a l l h i s enemies. The p r i n c i p a l characters of Perlesvaus are knights and the i r business i s f i g h t i n g ; hence there i s nothing e s p e c i a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t i n the discovery that a large portion of the p l o t i s taken up with warfare i n one form or another. Moreover, the nature of the various engage-ments, the issues i n dispute, and often even the very pairings of adversaries who face one another have a f a m i l i a r a i r to them. They 32 l i k e the f i g h t s i n Chretien de Troyes and Wauchier, and they bring together enemies who have already fought i n the past over the same matters that continue to set them at odds. A l l the p r i n c i p a l knights i n Perlesvaus have t r a d i t i o n a l enemies who reappear i n the same roles that they or t h e i r f a m i l i e s have played before. Perceval himself has a running feud with the r e l a t i v e s of the Red Shield Knight whom he k i l l e d when he was s t i l l a young boy, beginning 19 with that knight's brother Clamados. He i s also involved with the Red 20 Shield Knight's son Kahot, who seeks vengeance by waging war on Perceval's mother, the Widow Lady, and s e i z i n g her c a s t l e , La Clef de 21 Gall e s : Perceval eventually k i l l s him and recaptures the c a s t l e . The Lord of the Moors also f i g h t s Perceval: he c a r r i e s on a campaign of at l e a s t seven years' duration perpetuating a feud that dates from before 22 23 Perceval's b i r t h . This enemy, too, i s defeated and put to death, but h i s cause i s taken up by h i s cousin A r i s t o r , the murderer of Perceval's father, who now seeks to hurt the son through a forced marriage with, 24 and ultimate murder of, h i s s i s t e r Dandrane. A l l t h i s i s to be expected given the character and t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e of Perceval "qui onques ne fu sanz t r a v a i l l e sanz paine en tant 25 com i l vesqui c h e v a l i e r s . " Other good knights, of d i f f e r e n t character and r o l e , are also beset by personal enemies, however. Gawain i s drawn into a whole s e r i e s of f i g h t s and personal tragedies through the a n i -mosity of h i s t r a d i t i o n a l enemy Marin the Jealous, and aft e r Marin's death he i s as sorely t r i e d by Nabigan of the Rock and by Nabigan's 26 brother Anurez the Bastard. Lancelot, too, has h i s t r a d i t i o n a l enemies of long standing. Melianz i s bent on avenging the death at 33 Lancelot's hands of h i s father, and i n the al r e a d y . f a m i l i a r manner he 27 i s replaced upon h i s own death by h i s uncle Claudas. These ongoing feuds a l l f i t into the established pattern of l i f e of the Arthurian knights, and some of the enemies are already 28 f a m i l i a r from Chretien de Troyes; they and th e i r causes could n a t u r a l l y f i n d a place i n any continuation of Chretien or Wauchier. They are not t y p i c a l of a l l the f i g h t i n g that occurs i n Perlesvaus, however; never the r u l e , they become more and more the exception as the pl o t progresses. This i s e s p e c i a l l y the case i n the l a t t e r h a l f of the romance, when the G r a i l Chapel has been reconquered and the King of Castle Mortal over-29 thrown. P r i o r to t h i s the story i s mostly of q u e s t s — o f Gawain's that succeeds only i n part, of Lancelot's that f a i l s completely, and of Perceval's that i s ultimately triumphant—in which enemies appear as obstacles, or as d i s t r a c t i o n s , or as simple f i l l e r to maintain the basic i n t e r l a c i n g of the p l o t . Here the duels and b a t t l e s are p r i m a r i l y of the t r a d i t i o n a l type, and are anything but ce n t r a l to the p l o t ; they may advance the heroes on t h e i r quests, but j u s t as l i k e l y they w i l l not, and the questing knights don't r e a l l y expect them to. Gawain f i g h t s Marin because he has always fought Marin, not for the sake of the G r a i l that he happens to be seeking at the time. Once the G r a i l has reappeared, however, many things change. The quests are at an end, and with them the casual, intermittent approach to combat. I t ceases to be a d i s t r a c t i o n from the main concern of l i f e , and becomes i t s e l f that concern; i t becomes more purposeful, more u n i f i e d and more frequent. The increased frequency of f i g h t i n g i s the most s t r i k i n g 34 development i n the second ha l f of the text. Of the twenty or so major enemies that the heroes encounter, only f i v e are disposed of before l i n e 6252: Marin the Jealous, Kahot the Red, the Lord of the Moors, 30 Clamados, and the King of Castle Mortal himself. The u n i f i c a t i o n of a previously d i f f u s e pattern of f i g h t i n g i s also apparent, however, a l l i a n c e s are formed and campaigns are maintained through successive b a t t l e s and skirmishes i n pursuit of c l e a r l y defined s t r a t e g i c and p o l i t i c a l goals. In s t r i k i n g contrast to the i s o l a t e d and sporadic family feuding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of e a r l i e r Arthuriana, and even of the f i r s t h a l f of Perlesvaus, t h i s process of alliance-forming i s c a r r i e d on on the grandest scale and with great s o p h i s t i c a t i o n . Brien of the I s l e s begins i t by advising Arthur to e x i l e Lancelot from h i s court f o r one year, thereby securing the good w i l l of Lancelot's enemy Claudas, and preventing the formation of an a l l i a n c e between Claudas and Madaglan, who i s already at war with Arthur over the r i g h t to i n h e r i t the Round 31 Table. Brien's r e a l aim, however, i s to secure f o r himself the command i n Arbanie, against Madaglan. In th i s p o s i t i o n he o f f e r s only 32 feigned resistance to Madaglan, with whom he i s se c r e t l y a l l i e d . A second stage begins when Lancelot i s returned to favour, and Brien goes over openly to the side of the very Claudas whose f r i e n d -ship he once urged Arthur to secure at the expense of Lancelot. As the a l l y of both Claudas and Madaglan, Brien takes the f i e l d openly 33 against Arthur. Along with him, as a minor partner i n th i s a l l i a n c e , 34 Brien brings h i s nephew Brudan, the murderer of Meliot of Logres, In t h i s same stage of i t s formation the a l l i a n c e begins to 35 absorb the old, t r a d i t i o n a l family feuds. Along with Arthur's former seneschal, the treacherous Kay, Brien's liegeman Melianz had supported him i n a much e a r l i e r campaign against Arthur which had ended 35 i n Brien's capture and i n Melianz's death. As we noted e a r l i e r , Melianz belongs to the family of the Red Shield Knight and plays a ro l e i n that family's ongoing feud with Lancelot; when Melianz dies h i s part i n the feud i s taken up by his uncle Claudas. This, however, i s the same Claudas with whom Brien a l l i e s openly and whom Brien brings 36 into a l l i a n c e with Madaglan against Arthur and Lancelot. Henceforth the family feud of the Red Shield Knight's surviving r e l a t i v e s and the p o l i t i c a l cause of Arthur's enemies become one struggle. The introduction of t h i s degree of unity into a previously random pattern of feuding, warfare and skirmishing i s unquestionably of s t r u c t u r a l i n t e r e s t : the conquest of the G r a i l Castle d e f i n i t e l y marks a watershed, a f t e r which questing gives way to war as the unifying p r i n c i p l e , knight errantry gives way to more or le s s coherent strategy, adventure and happenstance are replaced by plan and i n t r i g u e , and there i s a general c l o s i n g of ranks among the characters and a narrowing of the focus of the p l o t . This same process i s s i g n i f i c a n t thematically as we l l , however. It c e r t a i n l y implies that the author has something more i n mind than merely multiplying Arthurian adventures of t r a d i t i o n a l type, and i t even suggests the nature of that something more. One of the charac-t e r i s t i c s of the apocalyptic outlook—indeed i t s s a l i e n t f e a t u r e — i s the b e l i e f i n a great, all-encompassing struggle between good and e v i l , being waged at a l l times and i n a l l places. A mere p o l i t i c a l a l l i a n c e , however broadly based, i s a far cry from the great assembly of e v i l 36 powers envisaged by apocalypticism, but the replacement of random feuding and d u e l l i n g by an a l l i a n c e i s a step i n that d i r e c t i o n . More-over, c e r t a i n p a r t i c u l a r features of the f i g h t i n g i n the second h a l f of Perlesvaus suggest that the a l l i a n c e i s more than p o l i t i c a l , and i s part of a larger phenomenon than i t s e l f . The very f i r s t campaign i n which the Good Knight takes part a f t e r the King of Castle Mortal has been overthrown already points i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n . Perceval sets out s t r a i g h t from the G r a i l Castle for the land where the New Law has been neglected, k i l l s a l l those who w i l l not embrace i t , and ensures, by his strength and courage, that our 37 Saviour w i l l be honoured there and adored. His labours have a r e -l i g i o u s purpose, n a t u r a l l y , just as any G r a i l quest has, but more s p e c i f i c a l l y than that, t h e i r r e l i g i o u s purpose i s i t s e l f warlike: to overthrow the Old Lav; and to e s t a b l i s h the New. Perceval's enemies, on the other hand, and indeed a l l enemies of the Round Table, are i n one degree or other defenders and proponents of the Old Law. This i s most obvious i n the case of Madaglan, Jandree and the Lady of the Raging Castle. Madaglan i n i t i a l l y opposes Arthur only i n part because of the court of the Round Table that he claims as his inheritance. His more serious casus b e l l i i s the New Law which Arthur holds: . . . i l est vostre enemis en . i j . manieres: por l a Table Roonde que vos avez a t o r t , e por l a Novele L o i que vos tenez. Mes i l vos mande par moi que se vos v o l i e z gerpir vostre creance, e prendre l a roine Gandree sa seror, i l vos clameroit quite l a Table Roonde . . . .^g His m i l i t a r y campaigns against Arthur are moreover missionary endeavours as w e l l : i n the lands that he captures he forces the inhabitants to 37 39 abandon the New Law for the Old under threat of death. For her part, Queen Jandree goes so far as to be blinded so that she w i l l not have to lay eyes on the adherents of the New Law, and she does not wish her 40 sight to be restored u n t i l the l a s t of them has been destroyed. F i n a l l y , i n the dependencies of the Raging Castle the people worship f a l s e gods that are a c t u a l l y d e v i l s , and the c a s t l e i t s e l f harbours 41 three knights who go mad at the very approach of a C h r i s t i a n . The fate of these various proponents of the Old Law further emphasizes the extent to which evangelization and m i l i t a r y enterprises become intermingled. Madaglan himself i s k i l l e d , but many of hi s sub-j e c t s , who had embraced the Old Law only out of fear, are now allowed 42 simply to reconvert. Later, when Perceval conquers the R.aging 43 Castle, he combines missionary preaching, f i g h t i n g and the outpouring 44 of divine power i n a s i n g l e campaign. Other members of the anti-Arthurian a l l i a n c e are not so e x p l i c i t l y associated with the cause of the Old Law, but by the support they provide for Madaglan and by t h e i r undermining of the power and cohesion of Arthur's court they are i t s e f f e c t i v e proponents, and a t t e n t i o n i s occasionally drawn to the connection. The departure of knights from Arthur's court through the influence of Brien, for instance, and the apostasy of Arthur's conquered subjects under pressure from Madaglan, come to be viewed as p a r a l l e l and complementary phenomena, 45 and are treated together. There i s reason, therefore, for viewing the struggle between the Round Table and the a l l i a n c e of i t s enemies as religious/moral as well as p o l i t i c a l , and as part of a larger and more fundamental con-f l i c t , the all—encompassing c o n f l i c t between the New Law and the Old, 38 between the friends of C h r i s t and his enemies. This more fundamental struggle c e r t a i n l y comes to the fore p r i m a r i l y a f t e r the watershed incident that i s the conquest of- Castle Mortal, and much of what goes before seems to have a d i f f e r e n t i n s p i r a -t i o n , but the d i s t i n c t i o n between coherent r e l i g i o u s warfare and sporadic feuding and questing should not be overdrawn. The watershed incident i s , a f t e r a l l , the climax of the questing phase of the p l o t , and i t i s a conquest. Perceval seeks the repository of the G r a i l and eventually reaches i t , but he does not quest by seeking out and puzzling over mysterious clues and passing tests and surviving obstacles; he attacks and overcomes the G r a i l ' s defenders with the help of d i v i n e power. Moreover, the adversary from whom he must seize i t , the King of Castle Mortal, behaves j u s t as Madaglan w i l l l a t e r : capturing lands and c a s t l e s , o f f e r i n g h i s protection to a l l who w i l l abandon the New Law for 46 the Old, and threatening to destroy the r e c a l c i t r a n t . There i s a second reason, too, for not overemphasizing the l i n e between the warfare of good and e v i l and ordinary questing and adventure, namely that the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of knights i n the greater c o n f l i c t i s not l i m i t e d to major characters or to incidents developed at length. The r e l a t i v e l y petty quarrels of l e s s e r i n d i v i d u a l s are also incorporated i n the apocalyptic struggle. Thus the Knight of the Galley hangs two 47 knights because of t h e i r r e l i g i o u s convictions, and i s s l a i n i n h i s 48 turn by Meliot of Logres for having committed an outrage against God. Further evidence that the emergence of an all-encompassing apocalyptic struggle i s not merely a consequence of the formation of a p o l i t i c a l a l l i a n c e at a p a r t i c u l a r point i n the p l o t comes from the 39 blending of earthly and otherworldly c h i v a l r y . Nothing i s more c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the apocalyptic view than t h i s t o t a l d i v i s i o n of creation into armed camps f i g h t i n g for and against God, and i n Perlesvaus i t i s a phenomenon that emerges at l e a s t as early as the f i r s t appearance of the Black Hermit, who even i n h i s own person repre-sents the drawing of earthly and otherworldly beings into one and the same ongoing c o n f l i c t . In him and i n h i s career t h i s world and the otherworld i n t e r a c t c o n t i n u a l l y . The sealed heads that he and h i s 49 black-armoured followers seize from the Damsel's car are associated with the good and e v i l souls imprisoned i n h e l l u n t i l the coming of C h r i s t . T h e I s l e Souffroitose to which most of those heads are l a t e r 51 transported has many of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of h e l l . So, even more v i v i d l y , has the p i t into which the Black Hermit's followers throw him a f t e r Perceval, i n a scene evocative of C h r i s t ' s harrowing of h e l l , has 52 conquered his c a s t l e . F i n a l l y , and appropriately for one ultimately condemned to h e l l , the Hermit i s himself e x p l i c i t l y i d e n t i f i e d , from a time long before the watershed conquest of Castle Mortal, with L u c i f e r . ^ His l i f e thus bridges, i n time, the period of questing and the period of o v e r t l y apocalyptic warfare, and, i n space, the earthly world and the other world; and the apocalyptic view of l i f e extends i n a t h i r d way even into the period before i t finds expression i n a formal a l l i a n c e of the enemies of C h r i s t ' s knights. It i s c e r t a i n l y true that the passage from one world to the 54 next becomes easier and commoner a f t e r the watershed. I t does not begin then however. What, then, i s the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s watershed? It l i e s i n the narrowing of focus and concentration of a c t i v i t y : a 40 series of private quests, i n t e r l a c e d with personal and family feuds, with some apocalyptic elements present, becomes a regular war, waged on earth and i n the other world by angels, demons and men, intent on winning a l l c r e a t i o n either for the Old Law or for the New. This s h i f t does not represent the displacement of one type of a c t i v i t y by another so much as of one l e v e l of a c t i v i t y by another and of one l e v e l of awareness by another. What i s being portrayed here, from the conquest of Castle Mortal on, i s a 'time of c r i s i s , i n which the ultimate s i g n i f i c a n c e l a t e n t i n every encounter between good and e v i l — a s i g n i f i c a n c e only occasionally noticed previously, i n ordinary t i m e s — comes to the fore. The conquest of the Castle i n which the G r a i l was held does not bring the adventures of B r i t a i n to an end: adventures go on for another four thousand l i n e s of text, and are not d e f i n i t e l y concluded even then. Family feuds continue, and p o l i t i c a l c o n f l i c t s s t i l l abound, but t h e i r meaning becomes clear and t h e i r ultimate conse-quences become immediate; the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n them are a l l aligned on one side or the other of the cosmic struggle, and they a l l know which side they are on and for what cause they are r e a l l y f i g h t i n g . This, process by which the p r i n c i p a l characters i n Perlesvaus discover the meaning and purpose of t h e i r l i v e s i s seen most r e a d i l y i n warfare, since warfare figures so prominently i n both apocalyptic doctrine and the careers of knights. Its s a l i e n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i s not combat, however, but unity. These i n d i v i d u a l s do not discover with increasing c l a r i t y that the point of t h e i r l i v e s i s to f i g h t : t h i s they have known from the beginning, and have pr a c t i s e d . They learn , rather, that a l l t h e i r feuds and compaigns are part of a s i n g l e 41 greater struggle extending beyond l i m i t s of time, space and p a r t i c u l a r circumstance. In other words, they are not being introduced to a new pattern of behaviour—that continues as i t always has—but to a new understanding of the i r r e l a t i o n s h i p to the re s t of creation . The notion of r e l a t i o n s h i p unveiled through the narrowing of the focus of warfare i n the l a t t e r h a l f of Perlesvaus i s probably best expressed i n terms of p a r t i c i p a t i o n or of co n t i g u i t y . The earthly b a t t l e s between knights are not l i k e the otherworldly encounters of angels and demons, nor do they represent, symbolize, or even follow upon them. The two are one and the same thing; they are almost p h y s i c a l l y joined together as parts of a greater whole; and so, too, are the i n d i v i d u a l s who p a r t i c i p a t e i n them. Human persons and the events of t h e i r l i v e s f i n d t h e i r place i n the universe and i n h i s t o r y by being brought into contact with others and being joined with them i n the one great enterprise common to a l l . Contiguity, linkage and p a r t i c i p a t i o n are more fundamental p r i n c i p l e s than struggle, and can be seen i n other aspects of Perlesvaus besides knightly combat. One h e l p f u l area .in which to investigate t h i s notion of re l a t i o n s h i p by contiguity or simple linkage i s sacred r i t u a l . The C h r i s t i a n understanding of sacred r i t e s — m o r e p r e c i s e l y of sacraments— was a controverted question i n the th i r t e e n t h century, and, while the d e t a i l s of the controversy l i e outside the scope of t h i s study, the l i n e s along which the debate was conducted and the agreed assumptions which underlay the various positions provide a useful standard against which to assess the concepts found i n Perlesvaus. Whatever p a r t i c u l a r p o s i t i o n i n d i v i d u a l s took up i n the mediaeval debate on th i s question, v i r t u a l l y everyone acknowledged a debt to Augustine, and most owed something to Isidore of S e v i l l e ' s Etymologiae, though they may have been l e s s quick to quote him. Augustine i s responsible for the unive r s a l acceptance of the p r i n c i p l e that sacraments are signs: he speaks of "sacrament" as the name for a 55 sign applied to divi n e things. The elements of the Eucharist, therefore, are sacraments because i n them one thing i s seen and ' 56 another i s understood: they are signs of something e l s e . From a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t point of view Isidore established that sacraments contain a hidden power: beneath the physical things and actions involved i n a sacred r i t e the divi n e power e f f e c t s that aspect of 57 sa l v a t i o n proper to the circumstances. By the time of Perlesvaus such basic notions of sacred r i t e s as containing unseen power and pointing to something other than the v i s i b l e sign were commonplace. Hugh of Saint V i c t o r had formulated a d e f i n i t i o n based on them i n the early twelfth century: a sacrament i s a corporeal or material element set before the external senses, repre-senting by s i m i l i t u d e , s i g n i f y i n g by i n s t i t u t i o n , and containing by 58 s a n c t i f i c a t i o n some i n v i s i b l e and s p i r i t u a l grace. By t h i s time, too, there was a growing consensus l i m i t i n g the number of the sacraments i n consequence of t h e . d e f i n i t i o n s gaining acceptance, usually to six or 59 seven. Current controversies notwithstanding, therefore, there was a widely accepted basic understanding of sacred r i t e s by the time of Perlesvaus: the r i t e s were signs, they s i g n i f i e d something beyond themselves, a hidden power was exercised through them, and a c e r t a i n number of them, generally seven, had a power, an authority, and a place i n the C h r i s t i a n l i f e that others did not have. Conventional or orthodox presentation of sacred r i t u a l would l i k e l y include these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s or some equivalent of them. L i t t l e of t h i s orthodox sacramental theology finds i t s way into Perlesvaus, and the s i x or seven o f f i c i a l sacraments have almost no r o l e to play at a l l . Arthur witnesses a miraculous Mass at Saint Augustine's chapel, i n which the l i t u r g i c a l actions are p a r a l l e l e d by the actions of C h r i s t , who appears i n a v i s i o n . ^ Gawain hears, but does not see, a 61 Mass a f t e r the apparition of the G r a i l . - The question of penance and absolution a r i s e s several times i n regard to Lancelot. The Damsel of 62 the Golden C i r c l e t and Queen Jandree are baptized. That i s a l l , the whole orthodox sacramental l i f e i n Perlesvaus: a few incidents among a l l the v i s i o n s , quests of magic objects, and encounters with mysterious and otherworldly obj ects that occur so r e g u l a r l y . There are many other sacred r i t e s i n Perlesvaus, of course: the G r a i l ceremonies, the c u l t of the dead, the prayer and irorship of the hermits, pilgrimages, and the veneration of r e l i c s , to name ju s t a few. These, however, are not among the seven e c c l e s i a s t i c a l l y recog-nized sacraments, and have a d i f f e r e n t character and d i f f e r e n t e f f e c t s from those envisaged i n Hugh of Saint V i c t o r ' s d e f i n i t i o n . In f a c t , although they are somehow from God, and those who p a r t i c i p a t e i n them are God's f r i e n d s , these r i t u a l s are almost i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e , e s p e c i a l l y i n t h e i r e f f e c t s , from the practices of pagans. To take only one example: Gawain i s so overcome by the v i s i o n of the G r a i l that he can think of nothing but God; he i s f i l l e d with such joy and devotion that every other thought i s driven out of h i s 63 head, and he neglects to speak. This i s the standard motif of the un-asked questions that i s r e g u l a r l y found i n G r a i l s t o r i e s , but i t i s also an exact p a r a l l e l to the experience of the pagan worshippers of the copper b u l l , who are so intent on the i r worship that they are conscious of nothing e l s e . So firm i s t h e i r f a i t h and so intense t h e i r devotion that they would l e t themselves be k i l l e d without reacting i f some enemy 64 were so minded. The f i r s t of these r i t e s i s a favour from God be-stowed upon one of h i s f r i e n d s , the second i s i d o l worship grounded on 65 a wicked b e l i e f i n d e v i l s , but each produces the same e c s t a t i c stupor as i t s p r i n c i p a l e f f e c t on the worshipper. The holy r i t u a l produces no more of "that aspect of sa l v a t i o n proper to the circumstances" than does the d i a b o l i c a l . Far from pointing and leading to something beyond i t s e l f , the holy r i t u a l , as much as the pagan, so f i x e s the worshipper's att e n t i o n that even his thoughts cannot move beyond i t . More remarkably s t i l l , even those few overtly C h r i s t i a n sacra-ments that are celebrated i n the course of Perlesvaus are sometimes closer i n s p i r i t and e f f e c t to the G r a i l ceremony or the worship of the copper b u l l than to the orthodox d e f i n i t i o n of a sacrament. The Mass that Arthur witnesses at Saint Augustine's chapel, for instance, bears a s t r i k i n g resemblance, even i n d e t a i l , to the G r a i l a p p arition i n Branch V I . ^ There i s a r i t u a l a ction i n each, c a r r i e d out by ordinary human beings i n a p h y s i c a l l y p l a u s i b l e way: i n one case the action of a hermit, i n the other of two young women. There i s an apparition that seems to p a r a l l e l the r i t u a l and that might be supposed to be providing i n s i g h t into i t s meaning at another l e v e l or i n another order of being, though t h i s i s not stated e x p l i c i t l y . There i s a b a r r i e r , absolute i n i t s power though purely psychological, preventing the witness from entering into d i r e c t contact with either the r i t u a l or the v i s i o n . In each witness, f i n a l l y , there i s the same reaction, a 45 mixture of awe, p i t y and e c s t a t i c wonder. Two conclusions emerge from these observations. F i r s t , the Mass, which i s a formal r i t e of the Church's l i t u r g y and u n i v e r s a l l y known to be such, i s a comparable r i t u a l to the G r a i l ceremonies, which are c e r t a i n l y holy and even miraculous, but i n no way a part of the o f f i c i a l l i f e of the Church, and these i n turn are comparable to the b l a t a n t l y pagan, f a l s e and d i a b o l i c a l worship of a copper i d o l . Secondly, none of the t h r e e — n o t even the Mass—conforms to the accepted understanding of a sacrament, ei t h e r i n i t s form or, e s p e c i a l l y , i n i t s e f f e c t s . This l a s t remark deserves some elaboration, because i t i s the e f f e c t of the sacred r i t u a l s i n Perlesvaus that most d e f i n i t i v e l y removes them from the realm of t r a d i t i o n a l , orthodox theology and grounds them i n the apocalyptic world-view. None of the r i t u a l s i n Perlesvaus plays a r o l e i n the process of redemption, i n the sense of the s a l v a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l ; none gives evidence of a s p i r i t u a l power at work to e f f e c t any transformation of the p a r t i c i p a n t . Indeed, so l i t t l e e f f e c t do they have that " p a r t i c i p a n t " i s almost a misnomer, and might better be rendered "witness". Arthur, f or example, i s not changed i n any way, l e t alone saved, by witnessing the Mass at Saint Augustine's Chapel. He i s impressed, he marvels at what he sees: "De 67 ce s'esmerveilla molt l i r o i s " . Yet, beyond being moved to f e e l p i t y , he i s unchanged. A transformation eventually takes place i n him, but i t comes by other means. A voice i n the middle of the forest commands him to hold court, and promises that the harm done by h i s lethargy and r e c a l c i t r a n c e i n doing good w i l l now be remedied, but the voice only speaks a f t e r Arthur has conquered the Black Knight, escaped successfully 46 from hi s troops, and borne o f f h i s victim's head to the damsel who 68 requested i t . I t i s not the sacred r i t e that produces a change i n Arthur; i t i s the accomplishment of the knightly, m i l i t a r y task. Gawain, l i k e Arthur, i s unaltered by the r i t u a l that he wit-nesses. If anything, indeed, h i s l a s t state i s worse than h i s f i r s t : he goes from the G r a i l v i s i o n to the magic chess game, which he loses, and then rides to a Joyous Castle where his arms, h i s horse and h i s appearance out of the Perilous Forest, abode of discomfited knights, combine to bear witness to h i s s l o t h i n word and d e e d .^ Elsewhere, too, s p i r i t u a l transformation follows upon a task su c c e s s f u l l y completed, not upon a sacrament devoutly received or witnessed. The most s t r i k i n g such transformation r e s u l t s from the reconquest of the G r a i l , but i t i s not effected by the G r a i l ' s r e -appearance. The reappearance, rather, i s only part of the transfor-mation, which i s brought about by Perceval's overcoming of a long series of o b s t a c l e s , ^ and which i s not completed u n t i l he has mounted a further campaign against the enemies of C h r i s t : L i Sains Graaux se representa l a dedenz en l a chapele e l a lance de.coi l a pointe saigne, e l'espee de c o i Saint Johan fu decolez, que M i s i r e Gavains conquist. L i hermite r'alerent en l o r hermitaje, e s e r v i r e n t Nostre Saignor a i n s s i com i l s o l o i e n t . Joseus demora avec Perlesvaus eu chastel tant com l i p l o t , mais l i Bons Chevalier recercha l a terre l a o l a Novele L o i e s t o i t delate a maintenir. II t o l i l e s vies a toz ceaus qui ne l a voudrent c r o i r e . L i pais fu maintenus par l u i e gardez, e l a l o i Nostre Seignor essauchie par sa force e par sa v a l o r . ^ There are also minor examples of s i m i l a r transformations, brought about by the same means. The bald damsel and her companion who i s forbidden to r i d e on a cart can be delivered from th e i r respec-t i v e a f f l i c t i o n s only i f Gawain finds the G r a i l and asks the r e q u i s i t e questions. A r i t u a l i s involved here, but i t i s the accomplishment of the task of f i n d i n g and a s k i n g — a task that Gawain i n the event proves unequal t o — t h a t w i l l provide deliverance. The healing miracle i n which the winding sheet from the Grave-yard P e r i l o u s i s applied to Meliot of Logres i s also the r e s u l t of a task accomplished by Lancelot at the cost of great exertion and no l i t t l e danger. The sacred r i t u a l s i n Perlesvaus do not, therefore, have a sacramental e f f e c t , as the sacraments were then understood, nor do they have a redemptive e f f e c t , i n the sense of saving i n d i v i d u a l s . They are not impotent, however; they do bring about something, and that something i s very l i k e the kind of r e l a t i o n s h i p by c o n t i guity that characterizes the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the apocalyptic struggle. In the celebration of the Mass at Saint Augustine's Chapel the actions of the p r i e s t are p a r a l l e l e d by the lady and c h i l d who appear as soon as he has begun his confession of s i n . ^ ^ Their actions are not s i g n i f i e d by the r i t u a l he performs as some heavenly r e a l i t y might be s i g n i f i e d by a sacramental r i t e : they are present to be seen i n themselves. His r i t u a l does not contain or confer an inward and s p i r i t u a l g i f t : the g i f t i s the v i s i o n , which i s external and material. I t does, however, cause the v i s i o n to appear, and that, though u t t e r l y i n s i g n i f i c a n t i n the context of orthodox sacramentality, i s an important function i n the apocalyptic world-view. Just as the e a r t h l y b a t t l e s fought by human knights are not l i k e the otherworldly encounters of angels and demons, but are rather the same struggle, so, too, the r i t u a l actions of earthly b e i n g s — o f holy hermits—do not represent or s i g n i f y the sacred r i t u a l s performed by 48 the Lord, h i s mother, the angels and the s a i n t s : they are the same r i t u a l , and t h e i r supreme importance i s p r e c i s e l y to be the same, to bring beings from t h i s world and the other, from t h i s age and the past and future, together. I f there i s only one struggle, i n which a l l creatures of every time and realm are involved, and i f s a l v a t i o n con-s i s t s i n v i c t o r y i n that struggle, then there can be no t a s k — s a v e the fi g h t i t s e l f — a s important as es t a b l i s h i n g contiguity. That i s the r o l e of r i t u a l . I t i s e s s e n t i a l l y an apocalyptic r o l e , and i t i s exactly the same i n nature and i n importance f o r God's friends and f o r h i s enemies, and, within the ranks of God's f r i e n d s , f o r e c c l e s i a s t i c s and for knights. It i s p r e c i s e l y because the establishment of contact, the bringing together of a l l the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the apocalyptic struggle, i s equally important for friends and enemies, f or churchmen and for warriors, that sacramental r i t e s , G r a i l ceremonies, and pagan super-s t i t i o n can, and even must, function i n the same way. I t i s i n e v i t a b l e that the a r r i v a l of earthly i n d i v i d u a l s carrying the G r a i l should pro-voke the appearance of two angels bearing candlesticks, that the figure of a c h i l d should be seen in.the midst of the G r a i l , followed by the appearance of the G r a i l i t s e l f , then the King, crowned, nailed to a 7 6 cross, impaled by a spear. In the chivalrous r i t u a l as i n the e c c l e s i a s t i c a l , a l i n k i s being established with C h r i s t and his angels, who are not of th i s world, and with Ch r i s t ' s passion and death, which are hot of th i s age. Beings from the past and from the otherworld are being made present that they, and the knights and hermits of the present age, may together f i g h t the powers of e v i l . As f o r the»worship 49 of the pagans, that too i s making t h e i r otherworldly protectors present to guard them and even to keep them i n comfort: "e l e deiable en qui i l c r o i o i e n t l o r donoit s i grant habundance l a dedenz que r i e n ne l o r f a i l o i t . " 7 7 The same apocalyptic p r i n c i p l e applies to sacred objects even apart from the celebration of a s p e c i f i c earthly r i t u a l : they, too, es t a b l i s h contiguity; they bring together past and present, this world and the other. The G r a i l f u l f i l l s t h is r o l e i n the l a s t of i t s forms, 78 when i t appears as a c h a l i c e . At th i s time there are no chalices i n B r i t a i n , and the King orders that a supply be made according to the pattern of this miraculous model f or a l l the churches and chapels i n h i s realm. V i r t u a l l y the same sequence of events occurs i n the case of the b e l l that i s borne i n by the King for whom Gawain slew the giant, except that i n th i s case the b e l l does not appear i n a v i s i o n ; the King i s a l i v i n g human character who brings the sacred object i n a normal way as 79 part of the entrance procession of monks coming to worship. I t has a past, however, and l i k e the cha l i c e i t also has a future, as the prototype for the mass production of b e l l s for a l l the churches of B r i t a i n . Both b e l l and chalice share i n the r o l e of the Eu c h a r i s t i c l i t u r g y and the G r a i l r i t u a l . The b e l l comes from a past age and has passed through the other world. The chalice comes d i r e c t l y from the other world, but as a form of the G r a i l i t has l i n k s to the passion and death of C h r i s t , which are i n the past. Like the r i t u a l s , the sacred objects bring the present into contact with the past, and make the other world present to our own. Moreover, by a process very much l i k e sympathe-t i c magic, the beings and events from the past and from the other world 50 that inhere i n the o r i g i n a l objects can be communicated also by images 81 of those objects. As the reproductions of c h a l i c e and b e l l are spread throughout the kingdom, more and more people are enabled to j o i n i n the r i t u a l s celebrated with them, and more and more people are brought into contact with the Lord and h i s angels and s a i n t s , and with h i s passion and death: with the otherworld and with the past. Nothing has to happen. B e l l s and chalices have no function to perform and therefore require no power i n themselves. They, l i k e the r i t u a l s i n which they are used, require only the appropriate form, so that they can be seen. When they are seen, the v i s i o n w i l l be seen, and the past and the otherworld w i l l be made present.to the beholders. This, far more than any kind of s p i r i t u a l transformation of the worshippers, seems to be the r o l e of r i t u a l and of c u l t i c objects i n Perlesvaus: they leave us as we were, to carry on the same struggle as before, but i n union with the r e s t of creation. They thus accomplish the goal of the apocalyptic v i s i o n of the C h r i s t i a n l i f e : p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the great struggle to overcome the united forces of e v i l opposed to God and h i s holy ones. R i t u a l incorporates us into the army of God's a l l i e s and allows us to f i g h t one and the same f i g h t with those who have gone before us and with those who dwell elsewhere. Ritual does not transform or conform; i t connects. We are not saved by r i t u a l c e l e -bration, but we are put i n a p o s i t i o n where we can f i g h t f o r s a l v a t i o n . A l l t h i s i s as f u l l y apocalyptic as i s the pattern of warfare i n Perlesvaus. I t r e f l e c t s a conception of the world as locked i n a fundamental struggle of ultimate importance, encompassing a l l times and a l l realms of being, b u i l d i n g to a c r i s i s i n which v i c t o r y for God's 51 a l l i e s w i l l constitute s a l v a t i o n , and defeat damnation. The p a r t i c u l a r function of r i t u a l thus witnesses to the breadth and depth of the apocalyptic influence on Perlesvaus. This i s f e l t not only i n the numerous i n d i v i d u a l motifs drawn from b i b l i c a l as w e l l as from n o n - b i b l i c a l sources, but even more s i g n i f i c a n t l y i n the p r i n c i p l e of coherence and unity that makes sense out of the otherwise d i f f u s e patterns of f i g h t i n g and out of many other aspects of the text as w e l l . The d i v i s i o n of a l l creation into two opposing camps, the blending of r e l i g i o u s warfare and m i l i t a n t r e l i g i o n into a s i n g l e enterprise of supreme importance, and the consequent primacy of con-t i g u i t y and p a r t i c i p a t i o n as a mode of r e l a t i o n s h i p among beings of every kind hold Perlesvaus together. The consistent adherence to this view, more than any other f a c t o r , gives thematic i n t e g r i t y to what would otherwise be a loosely organized series of i n t e r l a c e d adventures . 52 Notes to Chapter I """Kelly, Le Haut L i v r e du Graal, Perlesvaus: a Structural Study. 2 Payen, Le Motif du repetitir dans l a l i t t e r a t u r e francaise  medievale. 3 Helen Adolf, "The Esplumoir Merlin," Speculum XXI (1946), pp. 173-93. 4 William A. Nitze and T. Atkinson Jenkins, eds., Le Haut  Liv r e du Graal Perlesvaus, V o l . 1: Texts, Variants and Glossary (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1932), 11. 9988ff. ( A l l subsequent references to the text of Perlesvaus w i l l be to t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l appear i n the form " P e r l . 11....".) See also K e l l y , op. c i t . , p. 110. As he admits, the Black Hermit i s thrown into the p i t , which i n Revelation 20 i s the dragon's place of temporary confinement for the millenium rather than into the f i e r y lake, and the s c r i p t u r a l account contains no spear thrust. However, the overthrow of Satan i n an apocalyptic struggle i s c l e a r l y evoked i n the blackness of hermit and horse, i n the p i t , and i n the immediate d e l i v e r i n g up of the heads sealed i n gold. The differences are s u f f i c i e n t to discourage any notion that Perlesvaus i s borrowing material out of the New Testament, but the s i m i l a r i t i e s are so s t r i k -ing that the two works unquestionably share the same world view. In any case, i t i s not Kelly's or anyone else's contention that Perlesvaus derives from the Book of Revelation, only that i t belongs to an apo-c a l y p t i c t r a d i t i o n which owes much to the s c r i p t u r a l Revelation. 5Perl.., 11. 960ff. K e l l y , op. c i t . , pp. 124-25. Again one might quibble over the d e t a i l s : i n Revelation 20 the chain appears over the p i t into which the dragon w i l l be cast for a thousand years; whether the p i t of P e r l . , 1. 9600 corresponds to this p i t , or to the f i e r y lake which i s the place of permanent punishment i s unclear. That here we have one more apocalyptic motif i s unquestionable, however. Since there i s no reason to suppose d i r e c t borrowing of material, the presence of that apocalyptic motif i s a l l that r e a l l y concerns us. Revelation 20:4-6. K e l l y , op. c i t . , p. 112. 7 Revelation 19:2. Revised Standard Version. 8 P e r l . , 11. 8997-9032. 9 I b i d . , 11. 8770-72. 53 1 0 I b i d . , 11. 5387-89. "'"''"Kelly, op. c i t . , pp. 135-39. 1 2 P e r l . , 11. 9571ff. 13 K e l l y , op. c i t . , pp. 116-23. For more d e t a i l s on Alexander the Great as a mediaeval legendary f i g u r e see A. R. Anderson, Alexander's Gate (Cambridge, 1932), passim. 14 Adolf, op. c i t . , pp. 187-88. "'"^ See, f o r instance, the Revelations of Rabbi Joshua ben L e v i , t r . by M. Gaster, Studies and Texts (1925-28), I, 147. 1 6 P e r l . , 11. 7205-06. "^Payen, op. c i t . , pp. 427-28. 18 K e l l y , op. c i t . , p. 172. 19 Clamados has himself knighted by Arthur ( P e r l . , 11. 3053ff.) with the express intent of avenging h i s brother's death. In the event, he becomes involved with the Damsel of the Cart, slays Meliot of Logres' l i o n , and i s ultimately k i l l e d himself, so that he i s much le s s of a preoccupation for Perceval than he expected to be—he i s dead by 1. 3883. He nonetheless does his part to perpetuate the t r a -d i t i o n a l family feud. 20 Kahot's r e l a t i o n s h i p to the Red Shield Knight i s hazy. He could conceivably be h i s brother, or even h i s uncle. L. 3202 c a l l s him Clamados's uncle, and there i s some question whether Clamados i s r e a l l y the Red Shield Knight's brother or h i s son. Despite these uncertain r e l a t i o n s h i p s , which seem to confuse even the author of Perlesvaus himself, the three men are k i n , and the p r i n c i p l e of family feuding i s perpetuated. 2 1 P e r l . , 11. 3208-251. 22 P e r l . , 1. 460. This i s the incident i n which Perceval loses his inheritance, the Vax de Kamaalot, and thus earns the name Perles-vaus. (This place name translates r e a d i l y , of course, as "valleys of Camelot", but i s l e f t i n i t s Old French form i n conformity with the d e l i b e r a t e l y adopted p o l i c y of t r a n s l a t i n g personal t i t l e s into Eng-l i s h wherever they lend themselves to convenient t r a n s l a t i o n , but of leaving place names consistently untouched i n order to avoid facing 5 4 i n t e r e s t i n g but i r r e l e v a n t problems of geography. Logres can hardly be turned into England, or Pennevoiseuse into Penzance without the pr o f e r r i n g of explanation and the c i t i n g of evidence, a l l of which takes time and space, but adds nothing to the arguments being advanced i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r study.) 2 3 P e r l . , 1. 5410. 2 4 I b i d . , 11. 7256ff. 2 5 I b i d . , 11. 8983-84. 26 This l a t t e r t r a d i t i o n a l feud eventually becomes a part of the sustained warfare of the second h a l f of the romance, and Gawain and Arthur are ultimately forced to f i g h t a pitched b a t t l e to win t h e i r freedom from Anurez the Bastard and h i s vassals (11. 7755-7802). 27 Claudas, too, becomes involved i n the campaigns of the second h a l f of Perlesvaus, conspiring with B r i e n of the I s l e s to undermine Lancelot's p o s i t i o n at court and to persuade Arthur to a r r e s t him, thus depriving himself of the one general capable of r e s i s t i n g Brien's army e f f e c t i v e l y (11. 9438-9536). 28 Chretien's Conte del Graal, 11. 495, 3051, 4825. 29 P e r l . , from 1. 6252 onwards. 30 The Black Hermit i s mentioned as early as 1. 771, but the c l i m a c t i c struggle with him comes only at 1. 9942ff. 3 1 P e r l . , 11. 8078-82. 3 2 I b i d . , 11. 8132-53. 3 3 l b i d . , 11. 9505. 3 4 Brudan l a t e r threatens the younger s i s t e r of the Damsel of the Tents for a time, before being k i l l e d and decapitated by Perceval i n one of the l a s t encounters i n Perlesvaus, 11. 10056-99. 3 5 P e r l . , 11. 7872-7912. 36 P e r l . , 11. 9438-9536. In i t s complete form the a l l i a n c e may be presented schematically as follows: 55 Arthur's Overt Foes T r a i t o r s at Court Red Shield Family Madaglan (Jandree (bapt. Salubre)) (his s i s t e r ) (Brien of the Isles) (Madaglan's a l l y ) (Kay (who serves ) (Brien and Claudas)) (Claudas ) (Brien's formal a l l y ) (Melian ) (Claudas's nephew) (Brien's liegeman) (Brudan ) (Brien's nephew) (Lady of the Raging Castle) (Jandree's subject ) 37 P e r l . , 11. 6257-61. The New Law, which figures here for the f i r s t time and w i l l recur frequently, i s l i t e r a l l y the law of the Gospel, the law revealed by Jesus C h r i s t , as opposed to the Old Law of Moses revealed i n the Old Testament. As the reader w i l l quickly r e a l i z e , however, the terms are used here more loo s e l y . What l i t t l e i s said about the r u l e of l i f e followed by the knights of the Old Law and those of the New—and there i s a c t u a l l y very l i t t l e — w o u l d suggest that t h e i r p r i n c i p l e s are fundamentally very s i m i l a r . New Law and Old Law are i n fac t party l a b e l s , and r e f l e c t the d i v i s i o n of heaven and earth into two great warring camps. The reader w i l l probably understand them best by thinking i n terms of l o y a l t i e s : followers of the New Law bear allegiance to C h r i s t , those of the Old Law to Chr i s t ' s enemies. 38 P e r l . , 11. 7847-50. 39 Ibid., 11. 8492-96. 40 Ibid. 11. 7927-52. 41 Ibid., 11. 9068-88. 42 Ibid., 11. 8525-28. 43 Ibid., 11. 9110-59. 44 Ibid., 11. 9104-108. The working of the divin e power i s exemplified i n the three a n t i - C h r i s t i a n madmen who turn upon and slay one another. A s i m i l a r combination of warfare, evangelization and divine grace l a t e r r e s u l t s i n the p a r a l l e l conversion of Queen Jandree (11. 9178-256). 45 Ibid., 11. 8494-98. O 56 46 Ibid., 11. 5417-24. In addition, i n a move more p a r t i c u l a r to his own campaign, he drives the C h r i s t i a n hermits from t h e i r f orest (11. 6095-6106). 47 Ib i d . , 11. 9278-79: Por ce que, f a i t e l e , que i l creoient en Dieu e en sa douce mere. . . . 48 Ib i d . , 11. 9328-31: vostre n'estoient i l mie, ainz estoient chevalier Dieu; s i avez f a i t grant outrage qui s i vilainement l e s avez o c i s . 4 9 I b i d . , 11. 764ff . 5 0 I b i d . , 11. 2175ff. 5 1 I b i d . , 11. 9636ff. 5 2 I b i d . , 11. 9942ff. 5 3 I b i d . , 1. 2184. 54 -Anurez the Bastard, for instance,;assembles a force to besiege Arthur and Gawain out of family motives, to avenge the death of h i s brother Nabigan at the hands of Gawain, but when Anurez i s k i l l e d and entombed i n the Chapel P e r i l o u s , h i s defence i s taken up by demons. What begins as a l o c a l i z e d family feud passes into the otherworld quite n a t u r a l l y . 11. 8281-378. ^ ^ E p i s t o l a 138, 1, 7: Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum  Latinorum XLIV, 131. "^^Sermo 272, Patrologia Latina 38, 1246. ^^Isidore of S e v i l l e , Etymologiae, Book 6, ch. 19, 39: Patrologia Latina 82, 255. 5 8 On the Sacraments of the C h r i s t i a n F a i t h , Book 1, part 9; t r . by Roy D e f e r r a r i , Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Medieval Academy of America, 1951, p. 155. 59 Peter Abelard, who died only a year a f t e r Hugh, i n 1142, com-p i l e d a l i s t of s i x , and Peter Lombard, i n h i s Sententiae (Book 4 d, 2, n.l) that theological students would l a t e r comment on r e g u l a r l y as part of t h e i r t r a i n i n g , enumerated the seven that l a t e r became standard. 57 6°Perl., 11. 295ff. 6 1 I b i d . , 11. 2468ff. 6 2 I b i d . , 11. 5904-909 and 9145ff., r e s p e c t i v e l y . 6 3 I b i d . , 11. 2424-54. 6 4 I b i d . , 11. 5939ff. 65 Ibid., 11. 5945 (cele male creanse) and 5948 (le deable en qui i l c r o i o i e n t ) . 66 The Mass i n St. Augustine's Chapel i s described at l i n e s 295ff., and the G r a i l apparition at l i n e s 2424ff. The comparison i n d e t a i l i s as follows. In the v i s i o n two damsels enter, carrying the G r a i l and the Lance; i n the Mass the hermit appears vested, and begins with the Confiteor. A sweet smell emerges from G r a i l and Lance, while f a i r responses, l i k e the sounds of angels, come from the chapel where Mass i s being s a i d . The knights beholding the G r a i l are so awestruck that they forget to eat, and Gawain neglects to speak; Arthur, at Mass, marvels i n awe at everything he sees. There appears to be a c h a l i c e i n the G r a i l , though i n fa c t there i s none; Arthur thinks he sees a bleeding man, though i n f a c t the v i s i o n i s now once more that of a c h i l d . The Lance drips blood i n the v i s i o n ; the man's side runs with blood at the Mass. Light i s provided by candles borne by angels when the G r a i l appears; the chapel i s l i g h t e d by a miraculous l i g h t coming through i t s windows during Mass. Gawain cannot touch anything, and the three drops of blood vanish when he t r i e s to k i s s them; Arthur cannot set foot within the chapel, but can only observe the service from without. The G r a i l seems to be f l e s h , a king appears, crowned and nailed on a cross, with a spear i n h i s side; the c h i l d appears with h i s mother, moves about according to the actions of the Mass, turns into a bleeding man, and then becomes once more a c h i l d . At the G r a i l a p p a rition Gawain i s moved to f e e l p i t y for the c r u c i f i e d king; at Mass Arthur i s likewise moved to p i t y , even to weeping. 67 P e r l . , 1. 308 and passim. 6 8 I b i d . , 11. 541ff. 6 9 I b i d . , 11. 2459ff. 7 0 I b i d . , 11. 2250ff. 58 ^ P e r c e v a l approaches the f i r s t obstacle at 1. 6113 and enters the c a s t l e at 1. 6234. 7 2 P e r l . , 11. 6254-61. 7 3 I b i d . , 11. 727ff. 74 Lancelot must go to the Chapel P e r i l o u s , remove the sword and a piece of the b u r i a l shroud of the knight l y i n g there, take them to the Castle P e r i l o u s , then return to the c a s t l e where previously he had s l a i n a l i o n , behead one of the two g r i f f o n s he w i l l f i n d there, and take the head back to the Castle P e r i l o u s . P e r l . , 11. 8225-32. In the event the quest of the g r i f f o n ' s head proves to be a d i s t r a t i o n , i r r e l e -vant to the healing process, but that does not change the basic s i t u -a t i o n : Lancelot has to accomplish a very d i f f i c u l t s e r i e s of tasks for Meliot to be healed. 7"^The lady appears to the l e f t of the hermit. She addresses the c h i l d as her father, son and l o r d , guardian of h e r s e l f and of the whole w o r l d — l e s t we be i n any doubt who these people are. A f t e r the Gospel she o f f e r s to the hermit the c h i l d , who i s placed on the a l t a r . A f t e r the preface the c h i l d becomes a man, bleeding from his side, hands and f e e t , and covered with thorns. At the end of Mass he turns again into the f i g u r e of the c h i l d . P e r l . , 11. 290ff. 7 6 P e r l . , 11. 2424ff. 7 7 I b i d . , 11. 5948-49. 7 8 I b i d . , 11. 7215ff. 7 9 I b i d . , 1. 7213. 80 " . . . Salemons avoit fondues i i i cloches por l e Sauveor dou mont e por sa douce mere e por ses sainz honorer; s i avoient ceste amenee par son conmandement en ceste i s l e por ce que nule n'en i a v o i t " : so the three Gregories explain the b e l l ' s past to Gawain, P e r l . , 11. 7243-46. 81 By sympathetic magic i s meant that r e l i g i o u s sentiment and doctrine that led the ancient Egyptians, for example, to create e f f i g i e s of the dead kings and deposit them i n their tombs as places for t h e i r souls to inhabit: i f we recreate the form of a thing, the l i f e of that thing w i l l come to dwell i n i t . CHAPTER II THE HOLY GRAIL IN THE THIRD AGE  PERLESVAUS AND JOACHIM OF FIORE Perlesvaus i s an apocalyptic romance, presenting the whole world locked i n a fundamental struggle between good and e v i l powers. Its systematic incorporation of knights into two great forces doing b a t t l e r e s p e c t i v e l y for the New Law and for the Old, and i t s use of sacred r i t u a l to expand these forces beyond the bounds of time and space, leave no doubt of that. The theme of Perlesvaus can be i d e n t i -f i e d more p r e c i s e l y than that, however, within the broad category of apocalypticism. Far from merely transmitting the contents of the b i b l i c a l Book of Revelation, the apocalyptic t r a d i t i o n had enjoyed a long and diverse development p r i o r to the thirteenth century. E x t r a - b i b l i c a l C h r i s t i a n apocalyptic i n f a c t goes back at l e a s t to Irenaeus (ca. 140-ca. 202), but the relevant portions of h i s writings were l o s t and not discovered u n t i l 1575, far too l a t e to influence Perlesvaus. Various C h r i s t i a n s i b y l l i n e texts, some quite early, were known to the Middle Ages, how-ever . The T i b u r t i n a , from the mid-fourth century and inspired by the d i v i s i o n of the Empire between the Catholic Constans and the Aryan Constantius, was also f a m i l i a r . I t includes the standard elements of the great b a t t l e : the devastation of pagan c i t i e s , the destruction of temples, the baptisms or executions by the C h r i s t i a n hero, then the appearance of the A n t i - C h r i s t to persecute and destroy and l u r e away 59 60 the f a i t h f u l , and f i n a l l y the coming of the Archangel Michael to win the ultimate v i c t o r y for God. The same themes reappear, but with perceptible v a r i a t i o n , i n the Pseudo-Methodius of the l a t e seventh century. The enemies of Christen-dom are now the Ishmaelites, representing the r e a l - l i f e Moslems, but the war they are f i g h t i n g i s c l e a r l y the great apocalyptic struggle. C h r i s t i a n p r i e s t s are k i l l e d , the holy places are desecrated, Christians are either forced or seduced into abandoning t h e i r f a i t h , u n t i l an Emperor long thought dead a r i s e s to i n s t i t u t e a re i g n of peace and p r o s p e r i t y — a new motif not found i n the T i b u r t i n a — t h a t endures u n t i l the A n t i c h r i s t , with the hordes of Gog and Magag, destroys i t . The Emperor eventually dies, and h i s crown i s borne o f f to heaven on the cross of Golgotha, but a f t e r many years the cross reappears, and with i t C h r i s t himself to slay the A n t i c h r i s t and judge the world.""" The basic theme of struggle and the bringing together of the earthly and the heavenly powers are common to these and to other apocalyptic t r a d i t i o n s , as they are to Perlesvaus. The d e t a i l s , however, the chronology, the rol e s to be played by i n d i v i d u a l s , and the r e l a t i o n -ship to contemporary r e a l i t i e s are diverse. There are, i n other words, many p a r t i c u l a r apocalyptic t r a d i t i o n s : Perlesvaus belongs to one of them. To assert that Perlesvaus belongs to such a s p e c i f i c t r a d i t i o n implies that i t shares and expresses a p a r t i c u l a r apocalyptic v i s i o n — not just the g e n e r a l i t i e s common to a l l . I t i s not to as„sert. that i t and i t s viewpoint and ideas can be matched with some other book and the viewpoint and ideas i t might express. Neale Carman once t r i e d to e s t a b l i s h 2 t h i s sort of l i n k between Perlesvaus and the New Testament. He 61 believed that the whole romance was a tissue of exempla r e c a l l i n g the New Law ( i n the precise sense of the Law of the Gospel), and based e x p l i c i t l y on the New Testament and the New Testament Apocrypha. On the basis of th i s b e l i e f he made quite extravagant claims of d i r e c t 3 b i b l i c a l sources for countless i n d i v i d u a l incidents i n the romance. Though Carman's conviction that the basic i n s p i r a t i o n of Perlesvaus derives from outside the Arthurian legends themselves has much to commend i t , few would take s e r i o u s l y the claim that Arthurian characters and s t o r i e s were being used e x p l i c i t l y i n an up-dated rewriting of the Bi b l e . Perlesvaus almost c e r t a i n l y does not share i t s p a r t i c u l a r apocalyptic v i s i o n with any other s p e c i f i c book or c o l l e c t i o n of books. There would have been no need, however, for Perlesvaus to draw from other written texts i n order to belong to a p a r t i c u l a r apocalyptic t r a d i t i o n . Unlike the A r i s t o t e l i a n theory of matter and form, or nominalism, or other such p h i l o s o p h i c a l doctrines, millenarianism did not have to be learned at the feet of a master or read i n a book. Its various forms and branches were never f a r from the surface of the popular consciousness, so much so that any s l i g h t suggestion i n the course of current events that the new age might be near was enough to set o f f a period of s o c i a l upheaval, as happened r e g u l a r l y from the time of Tanchelm i n Brabant i n the eleventh century to the time of the Ranters i n 4 Cromwell's day i n England. The author of Perlesvaus could quite e a s i l y have been part of a very d e f i n i t e stream of apocalyptic develop-ment while never reading a book expounding i t . Without having any source as we i n the age of p r i n t would understand sources, he could have absorbed, assimilated and given expression to a d e f i n i t e and precise v i s i o n of l i f e that was held i n s i m i l a r form by others. This, 62 moreover, i s almost c e r t a i n l y what he did with the unique var i a n t of the apocalyptic world-view whose most prominent exponent, and i n most respects creator, was Joachim of Fiore, (ca. 1130-ca. 1202) . The apocalyptic doctrines of Joachim of Fiore have both a s u p e r f i c i a l e f f e c t on the events of Perlesvaus and a more profound e f f e c t on th e i r meaning and on the meaning of the romance as a whole. Central to Joachim's v i s i o n was a theory of h i s t o r y constructed around three ages of equal length, and some aspects of the t r a n s i t i o n from the second age to the t h i r d are r e f l e c t e d i n episodes i n Perlesvaus. Equally important to Joachim were c e r t a i n p r i n c i p l e s of h i s t o r i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p , by which persons and events i n one age are associated with counterparts i n another from whom th e i r l i v e s derive s i g n i f i c a n c e and by whom th e i r actions are often determined. Like the s u p e r f i c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the i n c i p i e n t t h i r d age, these Joachimite p r i n c i p l e s of h i s t o r i c a l determinism also f i n d t h e i r place i n Perlesvaus, both i n the d i r e c t explanation of the various adventures, and as the basis of c e r t a i n customary patterns of behaviour. These two modes of Joachimite i n f l u -ence w i l l each be treated i n d e t a i l i n due course, because each i s a major element of the apocalyptic theme of Perlesvaus. Some preliminary work i s required, however, before the Joachimism of Perlesvaus can be adequately discussed. Joachim's own exposition of his theories i s complex and often confusing, and h i s p r i n c i p l e s of exegesis of texts by concordia l i t t e r a e and of necessary p a r a l l e l i s m between ages, as well as his d i v i s i o n of h i s t o r y into three ages, need to be set out c l e a r l y before they can be applied to Perlesvaus. In addition, the question of the e x t r i n s i c r e l a t i o n s h i p of Joachimite writings and Perlesvaus must be investigated and the p l a u s i b i l i t y of 63 p o s i t i n g an influence of one on the other must be assessed. Only then can Perlesvaus be viewed i n r e l a t i o n to the character of the t h i r d age or to Joachimite concepts of r e l a t i o n s h i p , meaning and time. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The Apocalyptic Theories of Joachim of Fiore Joachim of Fiore (or sometimes i n i t s L a t i n form Flora) has a modest place i n the ordinary h i s t o r y of the Church as both a theologian and a reformer of the r e l i g i o u s l i f e . He i s known to h i s t o r i a n s of the r e l i g i o u s l i f e as the founder of the Order of Fiore, a r e l i g i o u s order of C i s t e r c i a n roots which grew to number about f o r t y houses, and sur-vived into the sixteenth century. To the student of theology he i s vaguely remembered as the author of a confusing doctrine of the t r i n i t y that was condemned by the Fourth Lateran Council i n 1215. If he enjoys any fame at a l l among secular h i s t o r i a n s or among mediaevalists i n general, however, i t i s for h i s theory of h i s t o r y based on the three ages and on the p r i n c i p l e of concordia l i t t e r a e , or l i t e r a l harmony. The Joachimite d i v i s i o n of h i s t o r y comprises an age of the Father which i s also the age of the l a i t y and corresponds to the Old Testament, an age of the Son, which i s also of the clergy and corresponds to the New Testament and the time of the Church, and an age of the Holy S p i r i t and of the monks, which l i e s i n the future, a f t e r about 1260. These three ages and the overlapping two times of seven seasons each into which he also divides h i s t o r y are brought together by the p r i n c i p l e of l i t e r a l harmony, which reveals the r e l a t i o n s h i p of external r e a l i t i e s i n one age to those i n another by a system of absolutely s t r i c t p a r a l l e l i s m : what occurred at a given point i n the f i r s t age recurred under a d i f f e r e n t 64 guise i n the second, and w i l l do the same i n the t h i r d age as well.~* Joachim's theory of h i s t o r y i s both s u p e r f i c i a l l y and profoundly apocalyptic. S u p e r f i c i a l l y i t assimilates into the h i s t o r i c a l t h i r d age much of the t r a d i t i o n a l eschatological material normally thought of by orthodox C h r i s t i a n s as belonging to a vaguer end-time l y i n g outside of h i s t o r y . Thus, incidents such as the apocalyptic conversion of non-C h r i s t i a n s — s p o k e n of i n Matthew 21 and i n Romans l l - - a n d the consequent t r a d i t i o n a l b e l i e f that missionaries must preach to the ends of the earth before the end can come, both become c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s for Joachim of the t h i r d age, to begin soon a f t e r A.D. 1260. The expectation of these events, and the preparation for them, are brought v i r t u a l l y into the d a i l y l i f e of Joachim's own time. If the great apocalyptic drama i s not yet happening, i t i s at l e a s t so imminent as to be a major pre-occupation and to colour the perception and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of current events. In a more profound sense, too, Joachim's theology of h i s t o r y presents a p i c t u r e r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from t r a d i t i o n a l theology, f u l l y within the apocalyptic t r a d i t i o n and s t r i k i n g l y s i m i l a r to the apocalyp-t i c i s m of Perlesvaus. Orthodox C h r i s t i a n i t y i s e s s e n t i a l l y a s p i r i t u a l r e l i g i o n . The hope that i t holds out to i t s adherents i s of some type of s p i r i t u a l transformation, v a r i o u s l y expressed i n terms of "entering the Kingdom of God", "being transformed i n the image of the r i s e n C h r i s t " , or perhaps "going to heaven". Past events i n the h i s t o r y of God's people are understood as evidence of God's power and as portents of the s a l v a t i o n he w i l l work for our sake. The conquest of earthly enemies foreshadows the overthrow of s i n and death. Material blessings are symbols of the inner g i f t and l i f e of grace. We are linked to those 65 who have gone before us through the i n v i s i b l e and s p i r i t u a l l i f e that we share i n God. A c e r t a i n primacy i s accorded to what i s inward and unseen. In Joachim's theology of h i s t o r y the opposite i s true. The hope that i s offered us i s the coming of the new age: a far better time than the present, but s t i l l an earthly, material s o c i e t y . Events from the past are not signs of a r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t power at work i n us s p i r i t -u a l l y ; they are forerunners of comparable events that w i l l occur among us i n exact p a r a l l e l to what went before. Material blessings are har-bingers of more material blessings, the overthrow of former enemies of the conquest of others l i k e them i n the future. We are linked to per-sons and events of the past not by p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n some greater l i f e , but by our l o c a t i o n i n a structure i n which they have a place p a r a l l e l to ours. By the same token anything that transcends the p a r t i c u l a r i s i r r e l e v a n t to Joachim: there are no r e a l universals i n h i s system of concordia l i t t e r a e . David and Constantine, for example, would not exemplify wisdom, or godly kingship, or j u s t i c e , or any other v i r t u e — or v i c e , or neutral c h a r a c t e r i s t i c — t h a t they might have i n common. L i t e r a l harmony establishes one-to-one r e l a t i o n s h i p s of contiguity i n which David can only be made present to Constantine, and Constantine to David. P a r t i c u l a r beings are joined to one another; they do not share or p a r t i c i p a t e i n any greater r e a l i t y . That i s not to say that Joachim's theology i s i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c : far from i t . For a l l that i t i s devoid of universals and embraces only the p a r t i c u l a r , t h i s system i s uninterested i n the s a l v a t i o n of i n d i v i d -u a ls. Non-millenarian C h r i s t i a n f a i t h , with i t s b e l i e f i n an inner and s p i r i t u a l l i f e of grace e x i s t i n g independently of any persons who may 66 share i n i t , can be r e l a t i v e l y i n d i f f e r e n t to the processes of develop-ment, s t a b i l i t y and decadence i n p a r t i c u l a r s o c i e t i e s or i n the world at large. This l i f e endures whether the Roman Empire i s c o l l a p s i n g or the Saracen dominions expanding, whether Europe i s at peace or at war. I n d i -v i d u a l b e l i e v e r s can therefore receive the Gospel, be nourished by the sacraments, keep the commandments and thereby share i n the inner l i f e , whatever i s happening around them. In Joachim's system, however, there i s no place for i n d i v i d u a l s to go, nor anything for them to do, outside the society i n which they are presently l i v i n g : they are confined by the material and the p a r t i c u l a r , by time and by space and by the fate of the i n d i v i d u a l s with whom they are linked by the p a r a l l e l i s m of concordia l i t t e r a e . Just as no i n d i v i d u a l can enjoy a personal destiny apart from the fate of h i s society, so too no one can influence the fate of others except by doing h i s part for the advancement of that society. Even Ch r i s t cannot r e c o n c i l e us d e f i n i t i v e l y to the Father and f i l l us with the divine l i f e , since there i s no such l i f e a v a i l a b l e to us. He can only struggle i n his day as everyone else does. He can be made present to others as they wage t h e i r b a t t l e s , but he i s only present, only i n touch with them; he can do only what they do. One i n t e r e s t i n g conse-quence of th i s diminution of the t r a d i t i o n a l , orthodox place of C h r i s t , i s a r a d i c a l growth i n s i g n i f i c a n c e for the l i v e s of a l l other C h r i s t -ians. In the orthodox view God has intervened openly i n human h i s t o r y only at c e r t a i n p r i v i l e g e d moments i n c l e a r l y miraculous ways; other-wise the ongoing works of God and the i r extension to ourselves are hidden, either with God i n heaven or within our own hearts. In Joachimite apocalypticism, on the contrary, the ordinary processes 67 of r e l i g i o u s growth and decay, the p r a c t i c e of p o l i t i c s and statesman-ship, the struggles of i n d i v i d u a l men and women, are a c t i v i t i e s of the same nature as the work even of C h r i s t . Some may accomplish more—and as the c l i m a c t i c period for the dawning of the Third Age approaches, c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s w i l l undoubtedly work dramatic changes i n the s o c i a l o r d e r — b u t a l l w i l l be engaged i n the same task, and none w i l l be able to accomplish i t for another. The broad l i n e s of Joachimite apocalyptic doctrine thus com-pr i s e at l e a s t four major elements. Most s t r i k i n g are the three ages of h i s t o r y , each associated with one of the three d i v i n e Persons and with a p a r t i c u l a r order i n society, and the t h i r d and l a s t about to begin within the thirteenth century. Equally s i g n i f i c a n t i s the s t r i c t l y material character of the hope held out to C h r i s t i a n s , a hope not of s p i r i t u a l transformation or immortality, but of a new and better society to be inaugurated at a s p e c i f i e d time i n the foresee-able future. F i n a l l y , i n paradoxical balance, are the p r i n c i p l e s of c o l l e c t i v e s a l v a t i o n and of p a r t i c u l a r roles and r e l a t i o n s h i p s . None i s foreign to the s p i r i t or p l o t of Perlesvaus, and several are promin-ent. The discussion of t h e i r prominence and s i g n i f i c a n c e cannot pro-ceed, however, u n t i l i t i s established whether s i m i l a r i t i e s found i n Perlesvaus might p l a u s i b l y be ascribed to anything more than coincidence. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The Likelihood of Joachimite Influence on Perlesvaus That Perlesvaus depends on Joachim as a source, i n the sense that the author of the romance read the works of the theologian and was insp i r e d by them, i s u n l i k e l y : at l e a s t there i s no evidence to 68 suggest i t . Given the widespread prevalence of apocalyptic speculation, however, the spread of ideas by word of mouth, rumour, secondary docu-ments, and other forms of personal contact among c i r c l e s of i n d i v i d u a l s i s by no means a far-fetched hypothesis; and of that sort of contact between the m i l i e u of Perlesvaus and Joachimite c i r c l e s there i s evidence. The notion of personal contact i s not magical, of course. In an age without p r i n t i n g or e l e c t r o n i c means of communication ideas spread when those who held them went from one place to another and there talked about them, or when manuscripts were p h y s i c a l l y c a r r i e d about. I f Joachim and Perlesvaus share a common v i s i o n , then persons connected with each must have come i n contact with one another or have had access to one another's w r i t i n g s . According to general scholarly views about Perlesvaus such contact should have been established, i f anywhere, either i n the West of England or, on the continent, i n the region Flanders-Artois-Picardy. Although one major manuscript, the Oxford manuscript Hatton 82, may be from the north-east of France, the remaining manuscripts l i s t e d by Nitze i n h i s standard e d i t i o n are from the no r t h . 7 In addition, the colophon added to the Brussels manuscript describes i t as a g i f t of the Sire de Cambrin to Jean de Nesle, the c a s t e l l a n of Bruges and a well-known figu r e i n his own l i f e t i m e , whose career i s thoroughly documented. The c i r c l e surrounding Perlesvaus thus d e f i n i t e l y includes northern French t e r r i t o r y . I t also includes England, however, and i s probably centered there. Despite the northern French language of the manuscripts, Neale Carman could assert blandly that Perlesvaus was very probably written i n England by a churchman well acquainted with Glastonbury Abbey, and 69 g not arouse c o n t r a d i c t i o n . Carman's a s s e r t i o n and i t s ready acceptance repose on the clear reference to Avalon i n the colophon common to the Oxford and Brussels manuscripts, and on the s l i g h t l y l e s s persuasive reference i n the body 9 of the text to the chapel where Guenevere l i e s buried. Nitze estab-l i s h e s that these texts r e a l l y are r e f e r r i n g to Glastonbury, and that the reconstruction of the buildings there a f t e r the f i r e of 1178, followed by the reinterment of the alleged remains of Arthur and Guenevere i n 1192, i s r e f l e c t e d i n the colophon reference and i n the d e s c r i p t i o n within the text of Guenevere's b u r i a l i n a newly b u i l t chapel with a lead roof and two gold crosses et cetera.""""^ It would not be unreasonable to argue, as Nitze and others have, that the exhumation and r e b u r i a l of these famous remains—which was a major and w e l l - p u b l i c i z e d event at the time—provided the occasion for the w r i t i n g of Perlesvaus: v i s i o n s of the b a t t l e of Roncesvalles and of abbeys competing for the custom of pilgrims suggest themselves without d i f f i c u l t y . In any event there i s c l e a r l y a l i n k between Perlesvaus and Glastonbury and through i t with the West of England. I t i s i n that region therefore, as i n the north of France, that evidence of the early spread of Joachimism must be sought. The search would be easier i f Perlesvaus could be assigned to the l a t e thirteenth century, as i t was i n the l a s t century when scholars thought i t to be derived from the Queste del saint Graal, or as Paul Imbs and Lucien Foulet have more recently assigned i t on p h i l o l o g i c a l g r o u n d s I t i s d i f f i c u l t , however, to dismiss some of the evidence 12 c i t e d by Neale Carman, whose arguments regarding the dating of Perlesvaus and Queste and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p to one another are far 70 13 more compelling than what he has to say about the meaning of Perlesvaus. Carman i s not prepared to place the w r i t i n g of Perlesvaus as early as the twelfth century: the exhumation of the bodies of Arthur and Guenevere and th e i r r e b u r i a l make the early eleven nineties an absolute terminus a quo i n any case. "On the other hand, however, h i s evidence makes i f d i f f i c u l t to place i t s composition too l a t e i n the thirteenth century. Before 1222, he points out, a copy was presented to Jean de Nesle by a Flemish compatriot, and Jean's s o l i d l y established dates provide a s o l i d terminus ad quem. S t r i c t honesty might even force t h i s terminus back another s i x years, since normal commerce and communication between England and Flanders were suspended a f t e r 1216, and the transmission of a text across the Channel between then and 1222 would have been d i f f i c u l t . For the region north of the Alps i n general early evidence for the spread of Joachimism—early enough even for Carman's dating of P e r l e s v a u s — i s not e n t i r e l y l a c k i n g . Manuscript Amplonian E. 71 of the StadtbUcherei of E r f u r t i s from the f i f t e e n t h century, but contains some thirteenth-century l e t t e r s of Peter of B l o i s , and i t i s thought to be based on a thirteenth-century exemplar. I t also includes a Tractatus  de f i d e P e t r i Blesensis, not an authentic work of Peter of B l o i s , but f a i t h f u l to h i s doctrine i n many respects. From f o l i o 227r i t deviates from Peter's usual preoccupations, however, to discuss the pagan hordes, representing Gog and Magog, that are massing against the Church. I t then goes on to explain the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the Old and the New Testa-ment according to the Joachimite doctrine of concordia l i t t e r a e , which i t a t t r i b u t e s to Joachim by name. By a lucky coincidence the author of t h i s document mentions two lapses of time: 1213 years have passed 71 from the r e s u r r e c t i o n u n t i l the present, and Joachim has a l l e g e d l y predicted that the A n t i c h r i s t w i l l appear 1260 years a f t e r the resur-r e c t i o n . Since 1260 was already a well-known date f or the coming of the A n t i c h r i s t , e s p e c i a l l y to some one f a m i l i a r with Joachim, and since con-fusion of the N a t i v i t y and the Resurrection as a s t a r t i n g point for the c a l c u l a t i o n of the C h r i s t i a n era was f a i r l y common, i t i s not implausible to suppose that the author of the Tractatus was w r i t i n g i n 1213, not i n 14 1246. Around the same time Robert of Auxerre (1156-1212) mentioned Joachim i n h i s Chronicle, where he noted Joachim's g i f t of s p i r i t u a l i n t e l l i g e n c e to i n t e r p r e t the Scriptures, h i s expounding of the Apocalypse, and h i s schema of h i s t o r y i n a d d i t i o n to the s p e c i f i c p r e d i c t i o n that the A n t i c h r i s t i s to come i n two generations, or approximately s i x t y years. Robert's death i n 1212—a date not i n d i s p u t e — p r o v i d e s an absolute terminus within the l i k e l y period of composition of Perlesvaus. The date of 1186 under which Joachim appears i s not evidence of Robert's acquaintance with him that e a r l y — t h e r e i s no reason to believe that the Chronicle was anything l i k e an up-to-the-minute d i a r y — b u t the reference to the two generations remaining before 1260 might place Robert's entry about Joachim as early as the turn of 15 the century. It may be deemed far-fetched to conclude from passing remarks that Joachim was already well-known or that h i s views were widely d i s -cussed. Robert does, however, conclude h i s entry on Joachim with a personal observation: he regrets the tendency to discuss questions l i k e the coming of the A n t i c h r i s t ; we would do better simply to l e t future generations discover for themselves whether the A n t i c h r i s t appears or not, and whether other prophecies are f u l f i l l e d or not. I t would seem inconsistent with such views for him to promote the cause of Joachim. If Joachim were not already well-known, surely Robert would not speak of him. I t i s p l a u s i b l e to suppose that he has commented on Joachim and h i s influence because Joachim has become too prominent to be ignored, even by a writer who would prefer that he be forgotten and no longer d i s t r e s s people to no purpose. In England i t s e l f there i s evidence that Joachim became well known at the l a t e s t a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of the decrees of the Lateran Council of 1215, which condemned him for h i s t r i n i t a r i a n theories. M. Gibbs and J . Lang claim that the bishops of England made a s p e c i a l e f f o r t to p u b l i c i z e the decrees of the Council and launched a programme of reform based upon them. The Council was concerned, however, with Joachim's the o l o g i c a l views, and awareness of h i s r o l e as a t r i n i t a r i a n h e r e t i c would not necess a r i l y prove anything of importance about h i s r e l a t i o n to Perlesvaus. Later i n the century there i s no lack of evidence that English-men knew p r e c i s e l y the things about Joachim that might have influenced Perlesvaus. Adam Marsh, an English Franciscan who died i n 1257, wrote to Robert Grosseteste i n 1253, and spoke of Joachim i n the l e t t e r as a b i b l i c a l exegete l a y i n g claim to a s p e c i a l s p i r i t u s i n t e l l e c t u s that allows him to penetrate the meaning of h i s t o r y through exegesis. In the same generation Roger Bacon became a devoted Joachimite, to the point, apparently, of being imprisoned i n the l a t e 1270's by the Master 16 General of the Franciscans for h i s Joachimite views. From the e a r l i e r period only one piece of evidence of f a m i l i a r i t y has emerged, but i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t . Ralph of Coggeshall, 73 i n h i s Chronicon Anglicanum,^ describes Joachim as an expounder of the Apocalypse and displays a s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t i n h i s p r i n c i p l e of concordia l i t t e r a e and i n i t s a p p l i c a t i o n to contemporary events. The dates of composition of Ralph of Coggeshall's c h r o n i c l e — a continuation of the e a r l i e r work of Ralph N i g e r — a r e uncertain: the Dictionary of National Biography i s reduced to asserting that he fl o u r i s h e d around 1207, the year i n which he became abbot of Coggeshall. Even the dates of h i s b i r t h and death are uncertain. There i s some i n t e r n a l evidence for b e l i e v i n g that the chronicle continued down to 1227, but the extant copies only 18 extend to 1224. I t seems safe therefore to conclude that knowledge of Joachim's doctrine had spread to.. England, at l e a s t to th i s one i n d i v i d u a l , by the f i r s t quarter of the thirteenth century at the very l a t e s t , quite possibly before the Lateran Council made Joachim known as a t r i n i t a r i a n h e r e t i c . I t would be les s prudent to assume from Joachim's i n c l u s i o n i n the Chronicon Anglicanum that h i s fame was widespread: the same argu-ment cannot be adduced here as for Robert of Auxerre. In f a c t , Ralph of Coggeshall's work seems, i n th i s as i n other respects, to be quite personal: he tends to record what comes to h i s notice, and to speak of people who v i s i t him or whom his v i s i t o r s t a l k about, without any pre-tence of describing the major preoccupations of the world or of England. Here, for instance, i n h i s entry on Joachim, he i s a c t u a l l y describing an interview between Joachim and Adam, Abbot of Perseigne, and i t would not be i n any way inconsistent with h i s normal habits for th i s Adam to be h i s only j u s t i f i c a t i o n for ever mentioning Joachim at a l l . He would thus not be providing any proof that Joachimite doctrines were prevalent i n England, a v a i l a b l e to be taken up by the authors of vernacular 74 romances of c h i v a l r y . The personal character of Ralph of Coggeshall's work and the r e l a t i v e narrowness of h i s range of i n t e r e s t s l i m i t h i s value as a witness to the possible general dissemination of Joachimite views, but they increase the s i g n i f i c a n c e of another entry i n his Chronicon, the second oldest extant record of the exhumation of the body of Arthur at 19 Glastonbury i n the eleven n i n e t i e s : for Ralph of Coggeshall has connections with the Glastonbury/Perlesvaus c i r c l e as well as with Joachim, and h i s reluctance to incorporate into h i s work subjects with which he has no personal connection heightens the p r o b a b i l i t y that h i s contact with Glastonbury and with the exhumation was d i r e c t . This i s e s p e c i a l l y l i k e l y since h i s account of the event i s considered an early version, p a r t l y because i t i s contained i n a part of the manuscript that runs only to 1195—the exhumation i s chronicled under the year 1 1 9 2 — p a r t l y because i t i s a p r i m i t i v e account, with no mention of 20 either Guenevere or the r e b u r i a l of Arthur's body. I t does, however, make the connection of Glastonbury with the place once c a l l e d Avalon, which i t mentions as part of the i n s c r i p t i o n on Arthur's c o f f i n , and which i t t r a n s l a t e s — a s i n s u l a pomorum. If we accept the notion that Ralph of Coggeshall recorded p r i m a r i l y what came immediately to h i s attention, then we have i n him l i v i n g proof that the Joachimite c i r c l e of ideas and influence and the c i r c l e around the creation of Perlesvaus do touch. I t might even be tempting to speculate on the p o s s i b i l i t y that Ralph of Coggeshall him-s e l f wrote Perlesvaus. A churchman, l i v i n g i n England, and well acquainted with Glastonbury Abbey was Carman's d e f i n i t i o n , and Ralph i s c e r t a i n l y a l l three, as well as being f a m i l i a r with Joachimite ideas. In f a c t , of 75 course, Ralph of Coggeshall almost c e r t a i n l y did not write Perlesvaus. The odds against the discovery of the i d e n t i t y of a heretofore anonymous author a f t e r almost eight centuries are staggering. If Carman i s r i g h t about England and about Glastonbury, however, and i f we are r i g h t about Joachim and millenarianism, then someone l i k e Ralph of Coggeshall must have been the author, someone with h i s exposure to Arthurian legend and s p e c i f i c a l l y to Glastonbury's part i n i t , with h i s awareness, too, of m i l l e n a r i a n speculation, e s p e c i a l l y of Joachimite speculation. At the very l e a s t the Abbot of Coggeshall i s concrete proof that at l e a s t one such i n d i v i d u a l did e x i s t . If t h i s e c c l e s i a s t i c i n Essex could be aware of Joachim i n I t a l y and of Arthur's tomb i n the West of England, then others could too. To speculate that an author influenced by Joachimism could produce a G r a i l romance i n v o l v i n g Avalon/Glastonbury i s not simply to chase a f t e r a shadow. The hypothesis that a Joachimite and an Arthurian c i r c l e of i n t e r e s t could meet and r e s u l t i n the creation of an apocalyptic romance l i k e Perlesvaus i s strengthened by the general pattern of i n t e r e s t i n Joachim both i n England and i n northern France. Joachim i s viewed as the prophet of the l a s t things or as the exponent of a s t r i k i n g method of b i b l i c a l exegesis, or as the explainer of the seven v i s i o n s of the Apocalypse. Emphasis i s l a i d on the harmony of the Old Testament and the New and on the precise p a r a l l e l s i n d e t a i l between the two. Commen-tators are interested i n the sequence of seven persecutions, i n the place of contemporary figures and events within the persecutions and i n the larger scheme of h i s t o r y , or i n the precise dating of the t h i r d age. Attention i s paid to the s p e c i a l g i f t of i n t e l l i g e n c e , on the one hand, and to the p l o t t i n g of ages, times and seasons on the other. Everything 76 revolves around concordla l i t t e r a e , b i b l i c a l exegesis, the understanding of h i s t o r y , and the consequent foreknowledge of i t s future course. The conclusions drawn by B. McGinn regarding the spread of 21 Joachimism support t h i s view. McGinn distinguishes three periods i n the dissemination of Joachim's influence. From his death u n t i l the 1240's he i s perceived as the prophet of the A n t i c h r i s t and as the object, for whatever obscure reason, of a condemnation by the Fourth Lateran Council. Interest then s h i f t s to the theory of the three ages, and e s p e c i a l l y to the imminence of the t h i r d . F i n a l l y , with the passing of the year 1260, numerous t r e a t i s e s are written concerning the p a r a l l e l s between the two Testaments and the seven times contained within each. A l l three phases of i n t e r e s t address p r i m a r i l y the complex of ideas surrounding concordia l i t t e r a e , the understanding of h i s t o r y , the p l o t t i n g of i t s several d i v i s i o n s , and the p r e d i c t i o n of what i s to come. There are occasional exceptions to t h i s pattern: Gamier of Rochefort, around 1209-1210, would seem to have written a sermon on the T r i n i t y i n which the Tetragrammaton i s used i n a manner derived 22 from the use of the psalterium i n the Liber figurarum, but the com-plex of concordia, patterns of h i s t o r y and prophecy based on concordia dominates o v e r a l l . Several conclusions can therefore be drawn about awareness of Joachimite ideas i n northern France and i n England. F i r s t of a l l , i t i s the apocalyptic v i s i o n of Joachim that spread most quickly and most widely: b a s i c a l l y , wherever Joachim was known, his version of millenarianism was f a m i l i a r , whether his t r i n i t a r i a n doctrines or h i s schemes for monastic reform had been heard of or not. Secondly, northern France and England were t y p i c a l i n t h i s respect, i n that the apocalyptic theory of h i s t o r y and prophecy based on exegesis l i e at the core of the various manifestations of i n t e r e s t i n Joachim there. T h i r d l y , i n the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of i n t e r e s t by periods presented by McGinn, the northern countries f i t into a l l three, suggesting a sustained aware-ness of Joachim from the early thirteenth century u n t i l w e ll a f t e r 1260: i n t e r e s t includes the prophecies of the A n t i c h r i s t — r e p u t e d the e a r l i e s t phase of i n t e r e s t i n Joachim—as well as the p a r a l l e l s between Old and New Testament—attested l a t e . There i s every reason, therefore, to believe that Joachimite apocalypticism had been heard of i n England at the time when Perlesvaus i s thought to have been written. Since, moreover, the f i g u r e of Ralph of Coggeshall attests to the coexistence of Joachimism and the Glastonbury legends concerning Arthur within a sin g l e i n d i v i d u a l , there i s no e x t r i n s i c reason for r e j e c t i n g the hypothesis that Perlesvaus may share i n the same p a r t i c u l a r development of apocalypticism represented by Joachim of F i o r e . Joachimite Theories and the Events of Perlesvaus: the Coming of the  Third Age The s t r i k i n g and s i g n i f i c a n t s u p e r f i c i a l s i m i l a r i t i e s between Joachimism and Perlesvaus a l l concern the t r a n s i t i o n from the second age to the t h i r d , and provide a strong i n d i c a t i o n that the theme of t r a n s i t i o n i n Perlesvaus has a broad scope and importance, extending beyond the narrowly m i l i t a r y change from scattered and aimless f i g h t i n g to planned warfare with a godly purpose. Most prominent are the s i m i l a r fates reserved by Joachim and i n Perlesvaus for v i r g i n s , for hermits and for knights. 78 In the whole of Joachimite doctrine probably nothing i s more s t r i k i n g , viewed s u p e r f i c i a l l y , than the theory of the three ages of h i s t o r y , and within that theory nothing i s more memorable than the process by which, i n the t r a n s i t i o n from age to age, martyrs give way to v i r g i n s , the o l d and the young to l i t t l e c h i l d r e n , and l a i t y and clergy to hermits. Those who are aware of only one aspect of Joachim's teaching are l i k e l y to know about the t h i r d age, of v i r g i n s , c h i l d r e n , and hermits. The p a r a l l e l phenomenon i n Perlesvaus to t h i s aspect of the t r a n s i t i o n from age to age i s less prominent, but s i g n i f i c a n t nonethe-l e s s . I t i s c e r t a i n l y one of the s u p e r f i c i a l areas i n which Perlesvaus and Joachim v i s i b l y come together. Children are not singled out as the heirs of the age to come, nor are they accorded any p a r t i c u l a r prominence i n the romance at a l l : Perlesvaus i s almost e n t i r e l y a t a l e about 23 adults. V i r g i n s and v i r g i n i t y are far more important, however. It i s not the Good Knight's strength or prowess that are stressed when he i s f i r s t presented, though i n f a c t he i s endowed with both, and both are mentioned. Rather: "Buens chevaliers fu sanz f a i l l e , car i l fu chastes e virges de son cors, e hardiz e poissanz, e s i ot teches sanz 23 v i l e n i e . " To be chaste and v i r g i n a l takes p r i o r i t y over being bold and strong. Elsewhere Perceval's c h a s t i t y and his determination to preserve i t are singled out without reference to other q u a l i t i e s at a l l : La Roine des Puceles, qui molt e s t o i t de grant beaute, l'amoit de tres grant amor, mes ele savoit bien que n'en a v r o i t j a son d e s i r i e r ne dame ne damoisele qui s'entente i meSst, q u ' i l e s t o i t chastes, et en chastee v o l o i t m o r i r ^ ^ Chastity even becomes the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c d i s t i n g u i s h i n g Perceval from his companions, s e t t i n g him above them, and giving him a power that 79 they lack, as hi s uncle explains to him a f t e r he has succeeded where Gawain and Lancelot f a i l e d at the Revolving Castle: "Beau nies, se i l fusent ausi chaste com vos estes, i l i fusent entrez, car i l sont l i 25 mellor chevalier dou monde, s ' i l ne fusent l u x u r i o s . " Chastity and v i r g i n a l p u r i t y are e s p e c i a l l y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Perceval, but they are not present i n him as the unique t r a i t s of a remarkable i n d i v i d u a l . They characterize him rather because he i s the precursor and the inaugurater of a new age, i n which they w i l l be the vi r t u e s par excellence, as they w i l l be i n Joachim's t h i r d age. They are not widely perceptible i n others because the t r a n s i t i o n from age to age i s only beginning, but some signs of the change are already appear-ing i n i n d i v i d u a l s , of whom Gawain i s the most obvious. Gawain has a reputation i n Arthurian t r a d i t i o n for womanizing, but i t i s a reputation that he does not l i v e up to i n Perlesvaus. His scrupulous respect for Marin the Jealous's wife might perhaps pass unnoticed, or be explained on other grounds, but when he then also disappoints the Damsels of the Tents, who openly i n v i t e him to make 26 love to them, he gives reason to suspect a r e a l change i n h i s character. This impression of change i s l a t e r strongly reinforced when he s i m i l a r l y r e s i s t s the Damsel whom he so meticulously obeyed during the tournament of the Golden C i r c l e t , and the hypothesis of a general s o c i a l development i s rendered more p l a u s i b l e by Arthur, who behaves j u s t l i k e Gawain. The damsels for whom Arthur and Gawain fought i n the tournament complain about t h e i r behaviour afterward: " . . . c i s t chevalier e M i s i r e Gavains ont p r i s parlement ensemble; i l n'a en aus ne solaz ne c o r t o i s i e . Laisfons] l e s dormir, que Dex nos desfemde de 27 t e l hoste." In the eyes of th i s disappointed maiden, at l e a s t , 80 Gawain's o v e r a l l reputation i s changed: ". . . encor s o i t M i s i r e Gavains niche envers l e s da[moiseles], s i s a i ce, q u ' i l est loiaux en 28 autre maniere . . . ,"' a r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t judgment of Gawain than would be encountered i n e a r l i e r Arthurian legend. Similar evidence can be obtained out of Lancelot's adventures, for example when the Lady of the Castle of the Beards loves him, and would make him her l o r d and her c a s t l e ' s , only to be rejected i n favour of h i s quest of the G r a i l and the Castle of Souls: Done remandroiz vos, f e t e l e , en cest chastel aveques moi, car je vos aim plus que nul chevalier qui v i v e . Dame, f a i t Lanceloz, granz merciz, mes je ne puis demorer en un chastel que une nuit devant que j ' a i e este l a ou je doi a l e r . Ou avez vos l a voie enprise? f a i t e l e . Dame, f a i t i l , au Chastel des Armes^g Lancelot's behaviour i s le s s noteworthy than Gawain's, since h i s l o y a l t y to Guenevere i s an established Arthurian motif, but i t i s at l e a s t con-s i s t e n t with the conduct of Arthur and Gawain, and h i s motivation a r i s e s out of h i s quest, not from hi s fee l i n g s toward Guenevere. The higher value placed on c h a s t i t y i n Perlesvaus, as compared to e a r l i e r Arthurian texts and the supreme importance of the v i r g i n a l Perceval as the hero of the great watershed event that i s the conquest of Castle Mortal r e f l e c t one c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Joachimite t h i r d age. In Joachim, however, that coming era i s also the age of the r e l i g i o u s , of monks and, above a l l , of hermits, and i n t h i s respect Perlesvaus i s overwhelmingly Joachimite. Apart from any more s p e c i f i c and more sophisticated observation, no reader can help but be struck by the near omnipresence of hermits i n this romance, e s p e c i a l l y i n the l a t e r branches where they provide information so r e g u l a r l y to the various knights that they become v i r t u a l narrators, and e s s e n t i a l to the advancement of the p l o t . 81 At a s l i g h t l y deeper l e v e l hermits provide information not only about what i s going on, but about what i t means: there are hermit exe-getes as well as hermit informants. I t i s one of the p r i e s t s at the c a s t l e guarding the entrance to the Fisher King's land who explains the meaning of the sealed heads and of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p to the events of s a l v a t i o n h i s t o r y , and who goes on to provide a s i m i l a r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n 31 of the death of Marin the Jealous's wife. The Hermit King himself serves as j u s t such an exegete when he explains to Perceval the meaning of the incident i n which one p r i e s t adored the Cross and another beat i t , of the b a t t l e with the devil-knight and the f i r e - b r e a t h i n g dragon, and of the death of the l i t t l e white beast, devoured by the twelve 32 hounds that emerged from her own b e l l y . Such appearances of hermits as informants or exegetes play an unquestioned part i n the organization of the p l o t , and are not exclu-s i v e l y a r e f l e c t i o n of the s o c i a l order being portrayed, but the same q u a l i f i c a t i o n can hardly be applied to the assignment to hermits of a l l the functions normally c a r r i e d out i n C h r i s t i a n s o c i e t i e s by the clergy i n general. The course of the adventures would progress j u s t as s a t i s -f a c t o r i l y i f Lancelot went for s p i r i t u a l d i r e c t i o n and confession to a diocesan p r i e s t or to a monk i n a monastery, instead of to a hermit, as 33 he a c t u a l l y does. Nor do s t r u c t u r a l considerations d i c t a t e the many other incidents i n which knights turn to hermits—and only to h e r m i t s — 34 for ordinary pastoral care. Lohot's funeral i s conducted by a hermit, 35 Guenevere i s buried i n a hermitage, the Knight Hardy i s prepared for 36 death by yet another hermit. Perceval i s taken by hermits to the 37 graveyard where his father and h i s eleven uncles l i e buried. When the knightly adventures have come to an end, hermits become the 82 38 custodians of sacred r e l i c s . From the a r r i v a l of King Arthur at Saint Augustine's chapel to the disappearance of Perceval from earthly society, the men who sing Masses, care for r e l i c s , bury the dead and watch over t h e i r tombs, absolve the penitent and o f f e r s p i r i t u a l counsel are a l l hermits. One or another may occasionally be referred to simply as a p r i e s t , but always i n a remote physical s e t t i n g appropriate to a hermit 39 or to a band of hermits. There are no Dominican preachers, Franciscan f r i a r s , Benedictine monks, and c e r t a i n l y no diocesan p r i e s t s or bishops to be found anywhere i n Perlesvaus: a l l have been displaced by hermits. The r i s e to prominence of the e r e m i t i c a l class i n the new age i s not confined to the replacement of other types of r e l i g i o u s m i n i s t e r s . While hermits do not take over the functions of knights as they do of the ordinary clergy, they do a t t r a c t a s i g n i f i c a n t number of i n d i v i d u a l 40 knights to t h e i r ranks through conversion. As early as Branch III a knight becomes a p r i e s t at God's command. In Branch V i t i s revealed that King P e l l e s has been for some time a hermit and that h i s son, Joseus, who has k i l l e d h i s mother for t e l l i n g him he would not be king, 41 i s himself i n search of a hermitage i n order to save hi s soul. The e l d e r l y knights that Gawain sees at the G r a i l service are a l l dressed 42 r e l i g i o u s l y , . which surely implies that they have entered some form of r e l i g i o u s l i f e , given the mediaeval bent for meaningful vesture. Most s t r i k i n g of a l l i s the fate of the t h i r t e e n true believers at the Castle of the Copper Tower, the only defenders whom Perceval does not put to death when he captures i t . These men remain ins i d e t h e i r f o r t r e s s u n t i l the New Law i s f i r m l y established, then go f o r t h , not to preach or evangelize, or to serve as knights i n the Lord's service, but to b u i l d hermitages: II furent l a dedenz tant que l a Novele L o i fu aseuree, e menerent mout bone v i e ; ne onques nus ne pot entrer avec aus que i l ne fust ocis e detrencies, se i l ne creSst fermement en Deu. Quant c i l de totes l e s i s l e s orent ferme creance, l i . x i i i . qui ou chastel estoient s'en i s s i r e n t f o r s , s i f i r e n t hermitajes par l e s forez, por l a fause l o i que i l avoient maintenue e por conquerre l'amor au Sauveor dou monde.,„ 4 J To l i v e on as C h r i s t i a n knights seems acceptable for a time, but once the New Law has been established, then to conquer the love of the Saviour of the world one ought to r e t i r e to a hermitage. The conversion of s p e c i f i c knights into hermits i s described i n a l i m i t e d number of instances. There i s more general evidence, however, that as the ranks of the hermits increase i n numbers and i n prominence, the order of knighthood declines not only r e l a t i v e l y but even absolutely: s i g n i f i c a n t numbers of knights i n Perlesvaus simply disappear from society, never to be heard from again, and t h e i r disappearance d e f i n i t e l y seems to be linked to the work of the Good Knight and to the ascendancy of the New Law over the Old. In Branch VIII S i r Gawain finds himself i n a region where he l e a r n s — a g a i n from a hermit informant—that there are no longer any knights l i v i n g , except for a si n g l e i n d i v i d u a l who provokes quarrels between t r a v e l l e r s i n order to c o l l e c t the s p o i l s of the dead. The r e s t have a l l been driven o f f by the mysterious knight who comes 44 ashore p e r i o d i c a l l y from hi s ship, always i n disguise. A f i r s t f r u i t of Perceval's l a b o u r s — f o r he i s the disguised k n i g h t — i s a d r a s t i c decline i n the number of knights: the only good man l e f t i n the area to give Gawain information i s a hermit. While linked to the Good Knight and h i s mission, the disappear-ance of knights i s not always a r e s u l t of h i s labours. I t i s a wider phenomenon that i s at l e a s t p a r t l y the consequence of the decline i n 84 e x i s t i n g society that Perceval i s struggling to overcome, one facet of the whole process of change from one age to the next. Perceval's uncle, for example, reports that the G r a i l Chapel i s empty and that the hermits l i v i n g i n the f o r e s t round about i t are eager for h i s a r r i v a l , because 45 now they no longer see any knight who believes i n God. This vanishing of a l l but the godless knights from the very centre of holiness i s c l e a r l y not Perceval's doing, nor i s i t a measure designed to implant the New Law. I t i s rather, i n a more general way, part of the whole t r a n s i t i o n , through decline and regeneration, by which one age i s giving way to the next. In the immediate environs of the G r a i l the old order of C h r i s t i a n c h i v a l r y has simply vanished j u s t as much as has the t r a d i t i o n a l , diocesan and p a r o c h i a l l y based Church. The impression of a t r a n s i t i o n from age to age i s augmented by the increasing evidence of r e l a t i v e decline of knighthood i n the l a t t e r 46 part of Perlesvaus. Hermits are met more and more frequently, 47 another f o r e s t without knightly inhabitant i s encountered, a l a s t knight from the f o r e s t i n front of the Castle of Camelot i s buried i n a 48 chapel, leaving that region likewise empty. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , too, the f i n a l adventure of the e n t i r e romance—the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the long abandoned but s t i l l preserved c h a p e l — i s entrusted to knights, as i t s nature would require, but the experience immediately i n s p i r e s the two i n d i v i d u a l s , as soon as they have emerged, to become hermits: II i entrerent par envoisellre, mes i l i demorerent puis grant piece, e qant i l revindrent f o r s , s i menerent v i e d'ermites, e v e s t i r e n t heres, e alerent par l e s forez, s i ne menjoient se racines non, e menoient molt dure v i e , mes ele leur p l e s o i t molt. . . 49 The decline of knighthood and i t s replacement by a class of r e l i g i o u s s o l i t a r i e s i s not wholly systematic: Perceval makes a highly 85 dramatic a r r i v a l at Pennevoiseuse"^^ on board ship, at a time when there are s t i l l large numbers of knights i n the Red Land, but h i s appearance, for a l l i t s s t r i k i n g character, does not drive them away. On balance, however, there i s no question but that the leading class of lay persons and the ordinary clergy are giving way to hermits i n Perlesvaus, and that the rate of t r a n s i t i o n increases as time wears on. In the external order the evolution of society portrayed i n Perlesvaus bears a strong resemblance to the emergence of the t h i r d age out of the second i n Joachimite apocalypticism. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Joachimite Theories and the Sense of Perlesvaus: H i s t o r i c a l P a r a l l e l s  as the Basis of Meaning S t r i k i n g though the external s i m i l a r i t i e s between the Joachimite t h i r d age and the evolving new society portrayed i n Perlesvaus may be, they are overshadowed ultimately by the p a r t i c u l a r concept of meaning that i s a more widespread, i f le s s v i s i b l e , c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i n both Joa-chimism and Perlesvaus. Many incidents i n the romance evoke Joachim's world when t h e i r own meaning i s revealed. The concept of what meaning i s , and the manner i n which i t i s generated and revealed are remarkably s i m i l a r i n Joachim and i n Perlesvaus. In each case meaning derives from the establishment of p a r a l l e l s between i n d i v i d u a l persons, things or events i n d i f f e r e n t time periods. In Perlesvaus the p a r a l l e l i s some-times revealed by an exegete introduced into the p l o t for that purpose, or i t i s sometimes revealed by the establishment of d i r e c t contact be-tween the persons or things i n question. In either case the process and the concepts underlying i t are thoroughly Joachimite. 86 1. The Formal Exegesis of Adventures by Concordia L i t t e r a e Joachim of Fiore c a l l e d h i s own c h a r a c t e r i s t i c method of i n t e r -preting the Scriptures concordia l i t t e r a e . As an exegetical technique i t stands s t a r k l y apart from allegory, anagogy, moralising, even from typology, to which i t has some a f f i n i t i e s , and c e r t a i n l y from the higher c r i t i c i s m of our own day. Concordia i s a process of mental linkage be-tween i n d i v i d u a l persons and p a r t i c u l a r incidents i n one age and t h e i r counterparts i n another. I t i s not j u s t a s p e c i a l technique for under-standing the B i b l e , however; i t i s a unique epistemology, a unique con-ception of what meaning i s , of what knowledge i s . For most of us i n our everyday l i v e s to know, or to apprehend meaning, i s to associate the unfamiliar with the f a m i l i a r . "Katze means cat" conveys knowledge to those of us who are native English speakers but know no German. "Sodium chloride means table s a l t " constitutes meaning for those who eat r e g u l a r l y but r a r e l y set foot i n a laboratory. Coming to know something, or discovering i t s meaning, i s a matter of linkage on straight-forward l i n e s ; what i s new or unfamiliar i s mentally attached to something else that i s already f i r m l y rooted i n our experience and i n our memory. That i s far from the only sense of knowledge, however, either for us or for people of the Middle Ages. A P l a t o n i s t might f i n d the statement "Arthur i s a King" meaningful, not so much because he i s more f a m i l i a r with kings than with arthurs, but because the t i t l e "king" establishes a l i n k with the absolute, abstract form of kingship, i n which a l l p a r t i c u l a r kings p a r t i c i p a t e . Since for the P l a t o n i s t a l l p a r t i c u l a r s derive t h e i r r e a l i t y from the univ e r s a l i n whose being they 87 share, to know an i n d i v i d u a l thing or person i s to associate i t with the appropriate u n i v e r s a l . Again a process of mental linkage, but of a d i f f e r e n t kind. Among the exegetical theories current i n the Middle Ages, allegory and anagogy a r i s e out of a concept of meaning p a r t l y akin to the P l a t o n i c . They depend on the notion that there are d i f f e r e n t orders of being: the outward and the inward, the material and the s p i r i t u a l , the earthbound and the heavenly. To apprehend the meaning of something i n the outer, material, or earthly order i s to l i n k i t s u i t a b l y to the inner, s p i r i t -u a l , heavenly w o r l d . ^ A more modern epistemology may be derived from this same pattern by s u b s t i t u t i n g h i s t o r i c a l or evolutionary process for the higher order of being: thus the meaning of Magna Charta i n the Whig theory of h i s t o r y derives from i t s place i n the process of diminu-t i o n of r o y a l power and growth i n freedom through the strengthening of parliamentary i n s t i t u t i o n s . The meaning of the p a r t i c u l a r event i s 52 found i n a s s o c i a t i o n with the centuries-long evolution. Joachim and Perlesvaus stand together i n i s o l a t i o n from these more or l e s s standard epistemologies. Joachimite concordia, not j u s t as an exegetical technique, but as a theory of meaning and i t s appre-hension, l i n k s e n t i t i e s quite d i f f e r e n t from the strange and the f a m i l i a r , the p a r t i c u l a r and the u n i v e r s a l , the outer and the inner, the earthly and the heavenly, the material and the s p i r i t u a l , or the event and the process. I t i s true that Joachim himself does speak of types or modes of knowledge—of seven i n f a c t — t h a t underlie concordia, but they are hardly what modern, or most mediaeval, readers would recognize as d i s t i n c t modes. Notwithstanding Joachim's terminology a truer understanding of h i s epistemology r e s u l t s i f h i s categories are thought 88 of as a s i n g l e type of knowledge and a si n g l e order of being manifested i n seven d i f f e r e n t h i s t o r i c a l periods. Time, not nature, i s the p r i n c i p a l d i s t i n c t i o n among the Joachimite modes. Each i s re l a t e d to one of the states of men i n the Church, or to one of the holy 53 functions, but these states or functions are r e a l l y what today would be c a l l e d d i s t i n c t moments i n s a l v a t i o n h i s t o r y . Joachim's overriding f a s c i n a t i o n with ages, times and seasons finds expression here as e l s e -54 where. This phenomenon can perhaps be seen most r e a d i l y i n one of the simpler examples of Joachim's e x e g e s i s . T h e t r i o of p e r s o n a l i t i e s comprising Abraham and h i s two w i v e s — t h e slave Hagar and the freewoman S a r a h — i s explained according to most of the seven types or modes of knowledge. What i s immediately s t r i k i n g about a l l the modes i s that each i s r e a l l y another set of p a r a l l e l characters i n a d i f f e r e n t time period. In the f i r s t mode Abraham s i g n i f i e s the p r i e s t s of the Jews, Hagar the I s r a e l i t e people, and Sarah the t r i b e of L e v i . In the second Abraham s i g n i f i e s the bishops, Hagar the church of the l a i t y , Sarah the church of the c l e r i c s . In the t h i r d Abraham represents the prelates of the convents and monasteries, Hagar the church of the conversi, Sarah the church of the monks. There i s no mistaking the connection i n each case to one of Joachim's three ages, and the same r e l a t i o n s h i p holds i n the remaining i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s : each simply establishes p a r a l l e l s for the three characters i n two or i n three ages simultaneously. That i s what passes for meaning according to the p r i n c i p l e of concordia l i t t e r a e . The two terms whose as s o c i a t i o n comprises meaning for Joachim do not correspond exactly. Joachimite harmony depends on a p a r a l l e l 56 between s a l i e n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , not among d e t a i l s . This i s conceived 89 and put f o r t h as a r e a l r e l a t i o n s h i p , however, and i s not to be d i s -missed l i g h t l y . The statement that Hagar equals the I s r a e l i t e people does not convey to the modern mind the sense of s a t i s f a c t i o n , the f e e l i n g of knowing the previously unfamiliar, that i s derived from learning that "Katze means cat". The di f f e r e n c e , however, i s l a r g e l y explainable by modern habits of mind, which are quite d i f f e r e n t from Joachim's. The basic experience i s le s s d i f f e r e n t than at f i r s t appears. That basic experience of knowing, the s a t i s f a c t i o n that comes from having a mental handle on a word, concept, thing or person, derives l a r g e l y from the consistency, p r e d i c t a b i l i t y , even necessity of the l i n k -age between the unfamiliar term and the f a m i l i a r . Once the connection of Katzen with cats has been established, a l l the meaningful statements that can be, and are, made about cats can be predicated of Katzen: four legs, t a i l s , sharp teeth and claws, fastidiousness, independence of character, propensity to scratch wooden objects, antipathy to dogs, and many another t r a i t . ^ Katzen s e t t l e down into a f a m i l i a r mental landscape, and they can be said to be known. In Joachimism the connection being made i s not between languages, nor between i n d i v i d u a l and species nor between any other categories of being. I t i s between i n d i v i d u a l s . The impetus to s e t t l e the unfamiliar term within a f a m i l i a r mental landscape i s the same, however, except that the landscape i s e s s e n t i a l l y a structure. No one can study Joachim's attempts to systematize the course of h i s t o r y without being struck by h i s f a s c i n a t i o n — a l m o s t his o b s e s s i o n — with st r u c t u r e . His whole experience of l i f e i s s t r u c t u r a l , and the fundamental structures within which he l i v e s and works are time periods, a l l interconnected according to various schemes of p a r a l l e l i s m . What 90 i s more, these time structures do not simply organize h i s experience of 58 l i f e ; they govern i t . Now, i n a system l i k e t h i s , where structure determines the course of r e a l i t y , where structure ultimately i s r e a l i t y , and events only i t s consequences, linkages of the type "Hagar means the I s r a e l i t e people" are neither a r t i f i c i a l nor i n s i g n i f i c a n t . Subjective-l y they should produce the same r e s u l t as "Katze means cat" produces i n the modern mind, that same sense of s a t i s f a c t i o n that comes from being able to make meaningful statements about something that formerly was puzzling. Once Hagar's place on the g r i d of time i s shown to correspond to the I s r a e l i t e people's place, or to the C h r i s t i a n l a i t y ' s , a l l the meaningful statements can be made about I s r a e l i t e s or Christians that were once made about Hagar—or v i c e versa i f I s r a e l or the C h r i s t i a n Church happen to be more f a m i l i a r i n i t i a l l y than Hagar. On the l e v e l of the subjective experience of knowledge and meaning, Joachim's con-cordia has as much power to create the s a t i s f i e d sense of having an i n t e l l e c t u a l handle on experience as has any other system of knowledge and meaning. Once i t s underlying s t r u c t u r a l premises are accepted, i t w i l l generate meaningful statements, and therefore deserves to be taken s e r i o u s l y . That i s how Joachim took i t — h e applied i t to the i n t e r -p r e t a t i o n of the book he esteemed above a l l others, the B i b l e — a n d that i s how the author of Perlesvaus took i t as w e l l . Evidence of the epistemology c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Perlesvaus i s scattered throughout the romance, but not evenly. There are c e r t a i n moments when the progress of events i s halted and the author introduces a hermit-exegete who f o r m a l l y — a n d often with some solemnity—expounds the meaning of the p r i n c i p a l adventures that have recently occurred. 91 This exegesis i s f u l l y as systematic as Joachim's, and i t proceeds along Joachimite l i n e s . In Branch VI Gawain pauses i n h i s questing at the Castle of Inquest, at the entrance to the Fisher King's lands, and asks the superior of the p r i e s t s there to explain to him the meaning of many of the events he has witnessed and been part of. They discuss seven i n c i -dents: the appearance of the damsels carrying the heads of a king and a queen, and transporting i n a cart the heads of 150 dead knights; the abduction of those 150 heads to the c a s t l e of the Black Hermit and t h e i r promised rescue by the Good Knight; the fate of the bald Damsel of the Cart; Marin the Jealous's murder of his wife; the Knight Coward's con-version into the Knight Hardy; Meliot of Logres's mastery of the l i o n ; and the s l a y i n g of a king's son whose body i s then eaten by h i s father's 59 subjects i n a sort of communion. The seven explanations are unmistak-ably Joachimite i n t h e i r method, and most f i t the s p e c i f i c Joachimite modes. In reply to Gawain's f i r s t i n q u i r y — c o n c e r n i n g the damsels and the heads sealed i n gold, s i l v e r and l e a d — t h e p r i e s t explains that the king was betrayed by the queen, and that he and the hundred and f i f t y knights were s l a i n i n consequence. The king therefore s i g n i f i e s Adam— the f i r s t man and thus a k i n g — w h i l e the woman i s E v e — h i s consort—and the knights who suffered for her treachery represent a l l the people descended from Adam, who have a l l suffered through Eve's s i n . The three sets of heads sealed i n metal represent r e s p e c t i v e l y the New Law—those sealed i n g o l d — t h e Old Law—those i n s i l v e r — a n d the False Law of the Saracens—those i n lead. This c l e a r l y i s an explanation i n the same sense that "Hagar s i g n i f i e s the I s r a e l i t e people" or "Abraham s i g n i f i e s the p r i e s t s of the Jews" are explanations. Each establishes a p a r a l l e l i n another h i s t o r i -c a l period. There i s nothing to suggest that the king i s l i k e Adam, or the queen l i k e Eve, that they share a common character or a compar-able l i f e h i s t o r y . What they share i s a place within a structure, and i n consequence of that place a function. The structure i n which they are placed, moreover, i s e s s e n t i a l l y Joachim's. The as s o c i a t i o n of the king with Adam and of the queen with Eve i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n according to the f i r s t mode of concordia l i t t e r a e . That i s to say that i t i s the establishment of a p a r a l l e l within the age of God the Father, with whom Adam and Eve had a l l t h e i r dealings. As i s the case with Hagar, however, the same incident i s explained according to several modes simultaneously. The hundred and f i f t y heads sealed i n metal, when considered as three d i s t i n c t groups, are to be understood according to mode four: they represent r e s p e c t i v e l y the Old Law, the New Law and the False Law, and are therefore linked to the Father and to the Son, to the f i r s t age and to the second. Taken a l l together, however, these same severed heads are said to represent a l l the descendants of Adam, extending thereby through a l l three Joachimite ages and f i n d i n g t h e i r meaning i n mode s i x . The theft of the hundred and f i f t y sealed heads and t h e i r promised rescue by the Good Knight are also assigned a meaning by the same technique and within the i d e n t i c a l system of modes. Once more the explanation i s a h i s t o r i c a l p a r a l l e l . The c a s t l e s i g n i f i e s h e l l , to which a l l , good and e v i l a l i k e , were consigned following the s i n of Adam and throughout the e n t i r e f i r s t age u n t i l the coming of C h r i s t . The Black Hermit who guards the c a s t l e and i t s prisoners represents L u c i f e r , who ruled h e l l . The Good Knight, who w i l l rescue the sealed 93 heads from the c a s t l e , represents C h r i s t , come to free h i s people from imprisonment and to harrow h e l l . In t h i s case the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the p a r a l l e l i n Perlesvaus to the Joachimite schema of h i s t o r y i s p a r t i c u -l a r l y c l e a r . The hundred and f i f t y heads have been sealed i n t h e i r three metals for a vaguely long time, and w i l l now remain i n the c a s t l e for an equally undefined period. They are condemned to wait through the second a g e — i n which the events of Perlesvaus are taking p l a c e — j u s t as souls were made to wait i n h e l l i n the f i r s t age. The harrowing of h e l l occured at the climax of the work of C h r i s t , by which the second age was d e f i n i t i v e l y established. Now the c a s t l e w i l l be harrowed, and the hundred and f i f t y waiting dead saved, at the climax of the work of the Good Knight by whom the new age w i l l equally be established d e f i n i t i v e l y . What happened as the f i r s t age gave way to the second w i l l recur as the second y i e l d s to the t h i r d . This exegesis gives the r e c i p i e n t a sense of s a t i s f a c t i o n , of knowing something, i n the same way and for the same reason that Joachim's explanations give s a t i s f a c t i o n : because the p a r a l l e l i s absolute, s t r i c t , and necessary. I t matters not at a l l that part of the alleged i n t e r p r e -t a t i o n rests not on fa c t but on prophecy: the Good Knight has not yet harrowed the Black Hermit's c a s t l e , nor has he even appeared so far as the priest-exegete i s aware, but the r i g i d system of p a r a l l e l s charac-t e r i s t i c of concordia l i t t e r a e supplies what empirical knowledge cannot. The all-determining structure of h i s t o r y generates meaning as r e a d i l y out of what has not yet happened as out of what has. By h i s p o s i t i o n alone the Good Knight at the t r a n s i t i o n from the second age to the t h i r d can be linked to C h r i s t , and meaningful statements can be made about him on the basis of what i s known of C h r i s t . To say that the Good Knight 94 harrowing the Black Hermit's c a s t l e represents C h r i s t harrowing h e l l i s both to express what he s i g n i f i e s and to enjoy one of the f i r s t f r u i t s of knowing what he s i g n i f i e s . I t i s one of the basic meaningful s t a t e -ments that can be made about him once h i s place i n the h i s t o r i c a l structure i s f i x e d . The same p r i n c i p l e applies to the Black Hermit, whose admitted resemblance to Satan i n appearance and behaviour only p a r t i a l l y explains t h e i r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with one another. The fundamental reason why the master of the p r i e s t s can assert p a r t l y i n advance of the facts what the Black Hermit's r o l e must be i n the current struggle of Old Law and New i s h i s place i n the structure of time.*^ The Black Hermit's place i s L u c i f e r ' s , and he must therefore s i g n i f y and function l i k e L u c i f e r . His c a s t l e becomes h e l l and plays the r o l e of h e l l . The sealed heads, as well as the l i v i n g persons waiting i n h i s c a s t l e , represent the souls of the dead waiting i n h e l l , and endure t h e i r f a t e . A l l the characters i n the drama are known, even though much of i t has yet to take place. They can be discussed and understood because they are linked to counterparts already f a m i l i a r . Except that the author i s narrating an Arthurian adventure t a l e , and not searching the events of h i s t o r y i n order to predict the course of the c l i m a c t i c year 1260, he i s being consistently f a i t h f u l to Joachimite orthodoxy. As the t h i r d s i t u a t i o n — t h e bald damsel, the unasked G r a i l question, and the languishing k i n g — i s explained, the sense of s a t i s -f a c t i o n , of i n t e l l e c t u a l mastery of the previously unfamiliar begins to be created before the reader's eyes. As the exegete does not f a i l to point out, the bald damsel has her exact p a r a l l e l i n the e a r l i e r age i n the person of Fortune, who was bald before the c r u c i f i x i o n of the 95 Lord and regained her hai r only when he had ransomed h i s people. While there i s graphic j u s t i f i c a t i o n for t h i s comparison—the wheels that support the cart are l i k e the wheel of Fortune bearing the w o r l d — t h i s e s s e n t i a l l y i s a further instance of concordia l i t t e r a e : two i n d i v i d u a l s , i n d i f f e r e n t ages, s u f f e r the same fate i n p a r a l l e l circumstances, and, i n the orthodox Joachimite manner, the one i s said to s i g n i f y the other. At t h i s point the method of concordia l i t t e r a e begins to bear f r u i t i n Gawain's mind: the f i x i n g of the appropriate p a r a l l e l s begins to give him the s a t i s f i e d sense of i n t e l l e c t u a l mastery over the pre-v i o u s l y unfamiliar that i s the subjective experience of knowing. He i s able to make statements about matters that he could only question before the Joachimite h i s t o r i c a l structure was pointed out to him: Mis s i r e Gavains ot ces senefiances, s i l i p l e s t molt; et se pense que a l'escu qui en l a sale l e r o i Artu pendoit n'osoit nus metre sa main ne enchargier, s i comme l'en l i out conte en mainz lex, ainz atendoit on l e Bon Chevalier de j o r en j o r qui por l'escu devoit venir.,.. 61 Gawain soon discovers, too, that not only the s p e c i a l i n d i v i d u a l s and objects that he encounters, but his own l i f e as well and i t s adventures can be given a meaning through the process of concordia l i t t e r a e . He learns the meaning of the death of Marin the Jealous's wife, i n an incident i n which he was intimately involved: S i r e , f a i t s o i l i prestres, ce fu molt grant j o i e de l a senefiance de sa mort, car Josephes nos tesmoige que l a Viez L o i fu abatue par un coup de glaiv e sanz r e s o c i t e r , et por l a Viez L o i [abatre] se s o f r i Diex a f e r i r en coste du glaiv e , et par ce coup fu l a [Viez] L o i abatue et par son crucefiement. La dame senefie l a Viez Loi.,„ 62 This p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s e s p e c i a l l y evocative of the Joachimite f a s c i n a t i o n with h i s t o r i c a l structure because i t can be based on no 96 other conceivable p r i n c i p l e . There are numerous p l a u s i b l e reasons f o r associating the Good Knight with the good and gentle Saviour of the world, but t h i s fundamentally noble and much-maligned woman seems to have l i t t l e i n common with an Old Lav/ that, i n the present age at l e a s t , has become the r a l l y i n g point for a l l the enemies of God and of goodness. She and the Old Law are not a l i k e i n nature or appearance. They are linked only because she now, and the Old Law once upon a time, share a common fate at i d e n t i c a l stages i n the evolution from one age to the next. H i s t o r i c a l structure alone binds these events to the meaning that each finds i n the other. This same exclusive dependence on h i s t o r i c a l structure to generate meaning i s evident i n the curious l i t t l e sequel to the Marin story, which the priest-exegete also explains. As a r e s u l t of his involvement with Marin, Gawain i s challenged by a knight wearing armour half-bl a c k , half-white, who promises that he and h i s followers w i l l become Gawain's men i f Gawain can defeat him i n combat. The challenge i s accepted, the duel fought, the condition met, and the promise kept. The master of the p r i e s t s then demonstrates how t h i s secondary incident, too, i s r e l a t e d to the destruction of the Old Law: "Ce est d r o i z , f a i t l i p restres; par l a Viez L o i qui fu abatue furent t u i t c i l qui enz 63 demorerent sogiet, et seront a toz jorz mes." The black and white armour symbolizes the anomaly of a servant of the Old Law l i v i n g on i n the time of the New, but i t i s not mentioned i n the exegesis, where meaning i s derived simply from the knight's place and s i t u a t i o n . External symbolism i s by no means incompatible with the basic p r i n c i p l e s of concordia l i t t e r a e . Like the knights i n two-colour armour the Knight Coward displays h i s r o l e v i s u a l l y , r i d i n g back to front on 97 h i s horse, with h i s habergeon around his neck, u n t i l he encounters Gawain who persuades him to set himself s t r a i g h t and turns him into the Knight Hardy. The exegesis does not depend on the symbolism, however, but on the s t r u c t u r a l p a r a l l e l between C h r i s t and Perceval: "La l o i e s t o i t bestornee devant l e crucefiement Nostre Saignor, et tantost comme i l fu 64 crucefiez s i fu remils]e a d r o i t . " Only the turning around of the knight on h i s horse i s given meaning, because that alone belongs with the para-l l e l i s m between the work of Ch r i s t and the work of Perceval, between the se t t i n g r i g h t of two things gone awry at times of t r a n s i t i o n from one age to the next. The remainder of what i s s e e n — i n the knight's appear-ance and i n his b e h a v i o u r — i s ignored. The preeminence of s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e s over both symbol and fac t i s further i l l u s t r a t e d i n the s i g n i f i c a n c e a t t r i b u t e d to Meliot of Logres as a c h i l d : Je me merveil, f e t Monsaignor Gavains, molt durement d'un enfant qui chevauchoit un l i o n en un hermitage, et n'osoit nus aprochier l e l i o n se l i enfes non; et n'avoit pas plus de set anz, et l i l i o n s e s t o i t molt cruex. L i enfes a v o i t este f i u z a l a dame qui por moi f u ocise. Molt avez d i t grant bien, d i s t l i mestres prestres, qui l e m'avez amenteli. Le enfes senefie l i Sauveres.du monde qui nasqui en l a Viez L o i , et f u c i r c o n c i s et s'umilia vers tot l e monde et l e pople qui dedenz e r t , et bestes et o i s i a u s , que nus ne p o r r o i t governer ne j o s t i s i e r se sa vertu non., c 65 A double p a r a l l e l i s thus established here, of Meliot with the Saviour and of the l i o n with the world that i s saved and conquered. Both e l e -ments depend e n t i r e l y on the structure of h i s t o r y , unsupported by empi-r i c a l data: Meliot i s s t i l l a youth, and his subsequent e x p l o i t s on behalf of God and h i s New Law are as much a mystery at this point as i s the Good Knight. In the absence of a Joachimite structure t h i s s i n g l e symbolic d e t a i l could mean v i r t u a l l y anything. 98 Not a l l Gawain's adventures are explained by reference to the Saviour. The King who boil e d h i s son's body and parcelled i t out among his followers i s presented more as a f a i t h f u l d i s c i p l e : S i r e , f a i t l i provoires, i l avoit j a son cuer aporte au Sauveor, s i vout t e l s a c r e f i c e fere de son sane et de sa char a Nostre Saignor, et por ce en f i s t i l mengier a toz caus de sa ter r e , et vout que l o r pensee fust autretele comme l a seue; et a s i desracinee sa terre de tote mauvese creance que i l n'en i a point demore.^ If put into s t r i c t l y Joachimite terms, t h i s exegesis probably belongs to the fourth mode, since i t applies to the Father's age and to the Son's. The king i s l i k e God the Father i n the f i r s t age, wishing to put i n his people the mind that i s i n himself by sharing with them his own f l e s h and blood, and therefore sending h i s Son to die as a man and to give his f l e s h as food to h i s Father's subjects. He i s also l i k e a d i s c i p l e i n the age of the Son, however, wishing to o f f e r a s a c r i f i c e to the Lord. By whatever mode i t i s interpreted, however, the incident has to derive i t s meaning from h i s t o r i c a l structure. The physical d e t a i l s — e s p e c i a l l y the boiling—make an analogy with the Mass improbable, and no other p r i n c i p l e of exegesis could conceivably make of th i s apparently monstrous cannibalism a r e l i g i o u s act. Neither the organizational device of grouping explanatory material into exegetical discourses by hermits, nor the a p p l i c a t i o n of the p r i n c i p l e s of concordia l i t t e r a e to the explanations i s confined to thi s s i n g l e encounter between Gawain and the p r i e s t at the Castle of Inquest. Perceval also approaches an e x e g e t e — i n t h i s case h i s own uncle, the Hermit K i n g — t o gain understanding of four incidents he has 67 witnessed or been involved i n . He asks f i r s t about the l i t t l e white 99 animal with the twelve hounds i n her b e l l y , which turn on her as soon as they are born and k i l l her, but are then unable to devour her f l e s h . A knight and a lady come, take the f l e s h , and place i t with the dead beast's blood i n two vessels of gold. The hermit o f f e r s a long and d e t a i l e d exegesis: Nies, f a i t l i r o i s , j e s a i bien que Dex vos aimme, quant iteus choses s'aperent a vos. La beste qui simple e debonaire e s t o i t , en qui l i . x i i . chien g l a t i s o i e n t , senefie Nostre Seignor, e l i . x i i . chien l e s JuYs de l a Viez L o i , que Dex c r i a e f i s t a sa samblance, e quant i l les ot crSez i l vout savoir combien i l l'amoient. II le s mist . x l . ans es desers; onques drap ne l o r p o r r i , e i l l o r trametoit l a manne des c i e l s . II i estoient sanz mal e sanz anui, e avoient tant de j o i e com i l v o l o i e n t . II tindrent . i . j o r l o r c o n s i l e ; e d i s t l i maistre d'eaus que se Dex se corochoit, e i l l o r r e t o l i s t cele magne, i l n'aroient que mengier, e toz tans ne pooit ele mie durer. II d i s t r e n t q u ' i l en repondront . i . grant p a r t i e , e tantost com Dex i e r t corchiez a aus i l l e prendront [ s i q ' i l ] viv r o n t grant pieche. II l ' o t r i i e r e n t entr'aux. Dex, qui tot ot e v o i t e set, l o r r e t r a i s t l a manne des c i e l s , e i l vindrent as caves desoz t e r r e , s i quiderent trover ce q u ' i l i orent mis; mais ele fu muee par l a volente de Deu en l a i s a r d e s e en culevres e en vermine. Quant i l v i r e n t q u ' i l ont mesfait, s i s'esparstrent par l e s estranjes t e r r e s . Beau nies, l i . x i i . chien ce sont l i JuSs que Dex a n o r r i z , e qui nasquirent en l a l o i que i l e s t a b l i , ne onques ne l e voudrent c r o i r e ne amer; ainz l e cru c e f i e r e n t e depechierent son cors au plus vilainement q u ' i l porent. L i chevalier e l a dafmoisele] qui mistrent le s pieces de l a beste ou v a i s e l d'or senefie l a deite dou Pere, qui ne vout s o f r i r que l a char dou F i l fust amenuisie. L i chien que s'en f u l r e n t e devinrent sauvaje quant i l orent l a beste depechie, ce sont l i JuEs, qui sauvaje sunt e ierent d'ore en avant. DO The linkage here i s a simple h i s t o r i c a l p a r a l l e l , no d i f f e r e n t except i n i t s prodigious length from the connection of Abraham with the p r i e s t s of the Jews or of the Old Law with the wife of Marin the Jealous. I t i s remarkable, however, and e s p e c i a l l y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Joachimite p r i n c i -ples, i n i t s a b i l i t y to generate meaning i n both d i r e c t i o n s . Just as what happened to the Jews i n ancient times imposes a meaning on the fate 100 of the dogs and t h e i r mother i n a recent event, so t h e i r fate i n turn imposes a meaning on the Jews of present and future: they are outcasts from society, l i k e wild animals, and w i l l remain such. In any system of meaning based on matter, form, allegory or any sort of symbolism, i t would be ludicrous to speak i n such terms. The hounds would be i n some way a s i g n i f i e r and the Jewish people a thing s i g n i f i e d , and only the l a t t e r could determine the meaning of the former. The hounds could express what the people are, but they could not make them be something or other. Ultimate control of meaning could r e s t only with the thing being represented, not with the means of representation. In a Joachimite structure, however, the s i g n i f i e r can r e a d i l y a f f e c t the fate of the thing s i g n i f i e d , and that i s what happens here. A pack of hounds can s e t t l e the future.destiny of the Jewish people, because the generation of meaning i s con t r o l l e d not by either of the elements that are brought together wi t h i n i t , but by the structure that j o i n s them. Once beasts are linked to people of the Old Law, and the su f f e r i n g hound i d e n t i f i e d with C h r i s t , the structure takes over and guarantees the meaning. Other, and f a i r l y obvious, differences between a large nation of middle eastern people and a small l i t t e r of English dogs lose importance. The two elements need not be a l i k e , so long as they are joined i n p a r a l l e l . The second of the Hermit King's four explanations i s less cate-g o r i c a l l y Joachimite. Being an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of a type of behaviour rather than of a person or thing, i t f i t s l e s s r e a d i l y into Joachim's modes, and i t would never s u f f i c e , standing alone, to prove that the epistemology of Perlesvaus i s Joachimite, although there i s nothing i n 69 i t incompatible with Joachim's p r i n c i p l e s . 101 The t h i r d and fourth explanations are more t y p i c a l , however, of both the o v e r a l l pattern of e r e m i t i c a l exegesis i n Perlesvaus and the Joachimite method. Perceval has fought the Knight of the Dragon, who was destroyed by the flames of f i r e i s s u i n g from h i s own s h i e l d , and wants to know what t h i s adventure meant. The Hermit King r e l a t e s i t to the work of the d e v i l : Beaus nies, nus ne l e pooit conquerre se bons chevaliers non, e tot ausi com l i deiable, qui en l'escu e s t o i t , o c i s t e a r t son seignor, tormente l i . i . des deables 1'autre, e plus ne vos puet f a i r e de mal l i Chevalier au Diable que ardoir l e cors dou f i l vostre oncle q u ' i l a v o i t mort, a i n s i com j ' o i conter. I I ot pooir ou cors, mais l'ame n'ot de l i garde, se Deu p l a i s t . ? 0 Once again meaning i s generated i n both d i r e c t i o n s , and the conduct of de v i l s and knights a l i k e i s both understood and determined by the s t r u c t u r a l p a r a l l e l connecting knight and d e v i l . In the fourth of his puzzling adventures Perceval has encountered the Turning Castle, with bears and l i o n s chained by the gate with mechanical archers of copper shooting arrows. As soon as he approached i t , the turning and shooting stopped abruptly. This, too, i s l i n k e d by the exegete with the d e v i l : " . . . plus n'avoit l i d i a b l e par defors que eel chastel; c ' e s t o i t 1'entree de sa forterece, ne jamais ceaus de l a dedenz ne fusent converti se vos ne f u s i e z . "7"'" Perceval alone could overcome the defences of th i s c a s t l e — a n d that with r i d i c u l o u s e a s e—not because he could do anything that o t h e r s — l i k e Gawain and Lancelot, d i s q u a l i f i e d because of th e i r wanton m o r a l s — c o u l d not do, but by absolute necessity. He i s the promised Good Knight before whom th i s c a s t l e must give way because he i s the one i n t h i s age before whom h e l l must y i e l d . As with Chr i s t i n h i s age, so with Perceval i n h i s : 102 there i s no other who can perform his works: "Se cele gent fust demoree e i fust f a i l l i de vos, jamais ne fusent d e s t r u i t jusqu'en l a f i n dou 72 s i e c l e . " This i s among the b r i e f e s t of examples of the a p p l i c a t i o n of concordia l i t t e r a e , but i n i t s orthodoxy i t i s p e r f e c t . These numerous examples of formal exegesis by the technique of concordia l i t t e r a e are very d i f f e r e n t i n t h e i r d e t a i l s and are widely scattered through the text of Perlesvaus. They a l l share, however, i n c e r t a i n basic p r i n c i p l e s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Joachimite doctrine. The meaning of the incidents dealt with here emerges from the a s s o c i a t i o n of the unfamiliar with the f a m i l i a r , but i n a p e c u l i a r way. The f a m i l i a r and the unfamiliar terms are themselves unusual, i n that neither i s a u n i v e r s a l , a genus, a species, a nature, a q u a l i t y , a category or anything else than a p a r t i c u l a r , i n d i v i d u a l e n t i t y . The manner i n which the two terms are r e g u l a r l y associated i s s t i l l more s t r i k i n g however, for they are only r a r e l y and i n c i d e n t a l l y connected by any s i m i l a r i t y i n appearance, i n f u n c t i o n a l , moral or symbolic value, or i n nature (think of the hounds and the Jewish people) . The r e l a t i o n s h i p between each unfamiliar term and the f a m i l i a r one that gives i t meaning i s a p o s i t i o n on a time chart. H i s t o r i c a l s t r u c t u r e — a n d i t a l o n e — i s the absolute determinant of the meaning of persons, things and events i n Perlesvaus as i t i s i n Joachim. H i s t o r i c a l structure alone cannot, of course, provide the sub-j e c t i v e experience of knowledge or the f r u i t s that derive from that experience. To be e f f e c t i v e i n the l i v e s of those involved i n them, h i s t o r i c a l p a r a l l e l s must be revealed, and i t i s the function of the exegetes i n Perlesvaus to reveal them. Individual p a r a l l e l s , h i s t o r i c a l structure and i t s r e v e l a t i o n are the three c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y Joachimite 103 bases of meaning i n Perlesvaus. 2. The Wider A p p l i c a t i o n of Joachimite Theories of Meaning In Joachim of Fiore's thought the p r i n c i p l e s of concordia  l i t t e r a e are not merely an exegetical method: they extend beyond exegesis to serve as the basis of meaning not only i n the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the B i b l e but i n Joachim's whole understanding of h i s t o r y . The same i s true i n Perlesvaus. Exegetes serve c o n s i s t e n t l y to reveal the para-l l e l s between persons, things and adventures i n the present age and t h e i r counterparts i n the past, but such p a r a l l e l s are not revealed only by exegetes. The p r i n c i p l e of r e l a t i o n by contiguity was seen i n Chapter I to be an important element i n the progressive concentration of a l l forms of warfare on the e s s e n t i a l struggle of good and e v i l forces. The r o l e of t h i s p r i n c i p l e i n Perlesvaus i s broader, however, and includes the realm of meaning and i t s apprehension. Many h i s t o r i c a l p a r a l l e l s of major s i g n i f i c a n c e are never mentioned by an exegete, but are revealed j u s t as c l e a r l y by the d i r e c t linkage of i n d i v i d u a l s i n various ways. The disposal of the dead i s unquestionably a very d i f f e r e n t form of a c t i v i t y from the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of past adventures, but i n Perlesvaus i t also follows the p r i n c i p l e s of Joachimite theory. One of the most noteworthy aspects of t h i s p r a c t i c e i s the name that must be applied to i t . The more usual " b u r i a l of the dead" has to be avoided as a misnomer because so few bodies are a c t u a l l y committed to the earth. Entombment above ground i s probably the more common pr a c t i c e , but, more remarkably s t i l l , many bodies are not put away at a l l , but are l e f t exposed i n accessible p l a c e s — o f t e n i n chapels under the care of h e r m i t s — where they are c a r e f u l l y kept for the future. One p a r t i c u l a r c o f f i n has 104 been awaiting Perceval since before h i s great grandfather was born, though his father can t e l l him nothing about i t beyond what i s written i n the i n s c r i p t i o n i t bears: "qant l i mieldres chevaliers du monde 73 vendra c i , l i sarqeuz overra, e verra on ce q u ' i l a dedenz." Cahus i n h i s dream also comes upon a body waiting: he discovers a chapel surrounded by a great cemetery f u l l of c o f f i n s ; within the chapel the body of a knight i s l y i n g covered with a r i c h c l o t h of s i l k , surrounded by four candles on golden candlesticks. Though no one else i s to be found i n the v i c i n i t y , the candles are burning, so the chapel i s 74 obviously r e g u l a r l y tended to. Gawain also encounters s p e c i a l l y arranged and c a r e f u l l y tended b u r i a l places: the chapel on four columns of marble, for example, be-tween the f o r e s t and the c a s t l e of Camelot i n Wales that belongs to the Widow Lady. I t i s not fenced o f f i n any way, so Gawain can enjoy a clear view of the c o f f i n within, which seems to be the only reason for the chapel's existence. 7"' These bodies are being preserved u n t i l a s p e c i f i c moment and for a d e f i n i t e purpose, as Gawain learns when he i s warned to stand back from a c o f f i n he finds near the G r a i l c a s t l e i t s e l f : "Ne tornez pas au sarqeu, car vos n'estes pas l i chevaliers par qui l'en savra qui dedenz 76 g i s t . " The p r i n c i p l e embodied i n t h i s warning applies to a l l the preserved bodies: t h e i r i d e n t i t y w i l l be revealed when they are brought into contact with the appropriate i n d i v i d u a l - — i n t h i s case with the Good Knight. Perceval encounters a more famous body i n comparable circum-stances when he comes upon Arthur's dead son L o h o t . 7 7 The body i s 105 reverently kept covered under a r i c h p a l l , and i s watched and prayed over by a hermit. This i s d e f i n i t e l y a p r a c t i c e d i s t i n c t from the general C h r i s t i a n concern to preserve the body i n t a c t i n expectation of the r e s u r r e c t i o n of the dead: there i s no i n t e r e s t , for example, i n maintaining the corpse's i n t e g r i t y , as the hermit himself reports: "La damoisele me mena au sarqueu ou l i f i l z l e r o i e s t o i t couchiez. Ele 78 m'en demanda l e chief par guerredon, et j e l i o t r o i a i molt v o l e n t i e r s . " The head, sealed i n a r i c h l y jewelled c o f f e r , then becomes the subject of an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n r i t u a l l i k e that promised for the preserved bodies. The young woman brings the c o f f e r to Arthur's court and explains that only when the k i l l e r himself touches the c o f f e r w i l l i t open to reveal, by an i n s c r i p t i o n concealed i n s i d e , the i d e n t i t y of the severed head and the circumstances of the death. Kay f a l l s into h i s usual habit of boastfulness and wants to make the co f f e r open, l i t t l e suspecting u n t i l the very l a s t minute that he may face condemnation for a crime rather than acclaim for a feat of prowess. The c o f f e r opens, however, at h i s touch, the head i s revealed as Lohot's, and Kay stands convicted as h i s murderer. This incident obviously belongs i n part to a t r a d i t i o n concerning Kay's treacherous character. Moreover, even to the extent that i t i s an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n episode i t i s not Joachimite i n d e t a i l : the passage of time involved i s minimal and i s not an e s s e n t i a l element i n the motif. In underlying s p i r i t and i n basic structure i t i s l i k e Joachim's epistemology, however. The head i s preserved and ca r r i e d about i n a n t i c i p a t i o n of a r e v e l a t i o n of meaning—more than simple i d e n t i f i c a t i o n — that w i l l occur when preserved.object and appropriate i n d i v i d u a l are brought into c o n t i g u i t y . This whole concept of r e l a t i o n s h i p by 106 c o n t i g u i t y — s o c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the r i t u a l i n Perlesvaus and of Joachim p a r t i c u l a r i s t i c epistemology—shares the Joachimite view of human experience on a far deeper l e v e l than that of incident, motif and con-scious i m i t a t i o n , of which there can be no question i n an incident so wholly contained within a si n g l e h i s t o r i c a l period. Such episodes are a useful reminder of the l e v e l at which Perlesvaus and Joachim meet, and a safeguard against the drawing of unwarranted conclusions from other incidents i n which even s u p e r f i c i a l l y the r e v e l a t i o n of the meaning of the dead follows Joachimite methods and modes. Such an episode i s Perceval's return to the c o f f i n at his mother 80 c a s t l e , which he saw f i r s t i n h i s boyhood. Now he i s the Good Knight, the i n d i v i d u a l who alone can open the c o f f i n and reveal the i d e n t i t y of the occupant. Why he alone can perform t h i s feat i s made clear when the c o f f i n opens: [La Veve Dame] f e t prendre a . i . chapelain une[s] l e t r e s seelees d'or qui estoient e l sarqueu. II l e s esgarde et l i t . Apres d i t que ces l e t r e s temoignent que c i l qui e l sarqueu g i s t fu uns de eels qui Nostre Seignor eda a d e s c l o f i c h i e r de l a c r o i z . II regarderent e l sarqueu delez l u i et trouverent l e s t e n a i l l e s toutes t e i n t e s de sane, de quoi l i clou furent oste. ol . This man i s intimately linked to C h r i s t , and to C h r i s t at the climax of his labours on behalf of the New Law, and so he has a unique, and i n t y p i c a l l y Joachimite fashion, r e c i p r o c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p with the Good Knight who w i l l labour i n h i s age as C h r i s t did i n h i s . By c o n t i g u i t y — l i t e r a l l y by touch of body to body and body to coffin—meaning i s revealed. The body i n the c o f f i n knows Perceval by touch because i t has known Ch r i s t by touch, j u s t as Perceval, being C h r i s t by v i r t u e of his place i n the structure of h i s t o r y , knows the body. Each can thus, without any empirical, f a c t u a l knowledge, reveal the i d e n t i t y and the 107 ultimate meaning of the other. Many other corpses are c a r e f u l l y preserved and watched over u n t i l the a r r i v a l of some pre-destined i n d i v i d u a l . These include the bodies of Perceval's father and eleven uncles, kept beside twelve a l t a r s i n twelve chapels surrounding a graveyard, with each chapel tended and 82 supervised by a hermit. No miraculous sign reveals the i d e n t i t y of either Perceval or hi s ancestors—he and the hermits exchange i n f o r -mation c o n v e n t i o n a l l y — b u t the pattern of waiting and watching over the p r i v i l e g e d i n d i v i d u a l i s maintained, and the recognition scene i s i t s climax. Even i n the f i n a l stages of Perlesvaus, when the various wars and struggles cease, and Perceval enters a semi-religious l i f e with his mother and s i s t e r .in h i s own holy c a s t l e , though the confusion of the t r a n s i t i o n period i s subsiding and the peace and calm of the new age are becoming almost tangible, watching and waiting with the dead remain as solemn and important a task as ever. La Veve Dame i ot f e t aporter l e cors qui g i s o i t o sarqeu devant l e chastel de Kamaalot, en ri c h e chapele que ele i ot estoree. Sa suer aporta l e drap que ele p r i s t en l a Gaste Chapele, s i l e presenta l a o l i Graauz e s t o i t . Perlesvaus f i s t porter l e sarqeu de 1'autre chevalier, qui e s t o i t a 1'entree de son chastel, dedenz l a chapele a u t r e s s i , e metre delez l e sarqeu son oncle, ne onques mes ne l e pot nus remuSr.g^ It i s a major preoccupation i n the l i f e of Perceval, h i s family and the hermits they gather around them, to keep these bodies close at hand, to show them reverence, and to watch over them. The treatment accorded a l l these various sets of bodies i s com-parable to that of the i n d i v i d u a l who took the Lord down from the cross, and through whom Perceval i s linked to Ch r i s t , and the purpose for that 108 treatment i s equally the same i n the many examples of th i s motif of preserving and watching over the dead. They are being kept, with care and often solemnity, so that they can connect the various parts of a g r i d , of a structure that imposes meaning on the i n d i v i d u a l s that i t join s together. Not only can they be i d e n t i f i e d because they have been preserved, but they have been preserved expressly so that they can be i d e n t i f i e d , and so that they i n turn, through the l i n k s they create, can also confer i d e n t i t y and meaning even as they receive i t . The j u x t a p o s i t i o n of p a r a l l e l i n d i v i d u a l s i s not the whole of the Joachimite system of knowledge and meaning: the structure established by concordia l i t t e r a e i s b u i l t around p a r a l l e l s between s p e c i f i c moments i n h i s t o r y . So, too, i n Perlesvaus: there i s another dimension to the incidents i n which c o f f i n s await the a r r i v a l of a p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l , or heads sealed i n precious metal are transported about u n t i l they reach the knight pre-destined to l i b e r a t e them and consign them to t h e i r appropriate destiny. That dimension i s time: not only can the dead be i d e n t i f i e d , or t h e i r death avenged, or expectations met only by a s p e c i f i c i n d i v i d u a l with a s p e c i a l l i n k to the dead person or to the events of the death, but i n many cases these things can be done only at a c e r t a i n time, which i s also predetermined. F i r s t the promised knight must come, or f i r s t he must conquer the G r a i l Castle, for example. Examples of such necessary sequences of events are not rare. One of the Damsels of the Cart i s constrained i n t h i s way: ". . . s i ne [le] tenez pas a v i l e n i e se ge ne descent, car ge ne puis descendre l a 84 o i l et chevalier, ne ne doi , devant ce que l i Graaus s o i t conquis." So too are objects, i n c l u d i n g Joseph's s h i e l d : 109 S i r e , l i escuz que ceste damoisele porte fu Joseph l e buen soudoier qui Dieu descendi de l a c r o i z , s i vos en faz present, a i n s i com ge vos d i r e : qe vos garderex l'escu avec un chevalier q i porec vendra, e l e f e r o i z pendre a cele colonbe enmi cele sale, e l i garderez; car nus no p o r r o i t oster se c i l non, ne pendre a son c o l . The appointed time and the predetermined i n d i v i d u a l are intimately con-nected i n t h i s i n s t a n c e — i t must be the Good Knight and he must come to Arthur's c a s t l e — a s they are elsewhere. The contents of the c o f f i n l y i n g i n the Widow Lady's chapel can thus be i d e n t i f i e d only when the Good Knight comes and only by that Good Knight as a p r i v i l e g e d i n d i -86 v i d u a l . Just as the emphasis i s sometimes predominantly on the person, however, at other times i t i s placed on the time. The Damsel of the Cart who wears her arm i n a s l i n g has done so since she touched the G r a i l while serving Perceval, and she w i l l not take i t out u n t i l 87 she has again had the opportunity to touch the G r a i l . Lancelot i s even more severely bound by such a constraint of time: ". . . je ne puis demorer en un chastel que une nuit devant que j ' a i e este l a ou je 88 doi a l e r . . . . au Chastel des Armes." In each of these cases things have to be done i n a d e f i n i t e order: the sequence of h i s t o r y and i t s structure, are important, j u s t as they are i n Joachim. In some instances, however, the p a r a l l e l to Joachimism i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noteworthy. Take, for example, the Black Hermit and the prisoners he holds i n h i s c a s t l e : S i r e , c i s t damages n ' i e r t restorez, ne amendez c i s t otrages, ne c i l malfeteur de l a dedenz p l e s s i e , ne c i l gete de l a prison que l a dedenz c r i e n t e pleurent, devant ce que l i Buens Chevaliers vendra que vos oi s t e s ore regreter. Why cannot the outrage committed by carrying o f f the sealed heads not be set r i g h t , and why can the prisoners i n the c a s t l e not be freed u n t i l 110 the Good Knight comes? This, a f t e r a l l , i s not a c r i s i s immediately concerned with the G r a i l question, which c l e a r l y would make i t h i s a f f a i r . I t seems p e r f e c t l y reasonable to hold, i n f a c t , that the o b l i g a t i o n he i s under to appear i n the character of the Good Knight before t h i s d i f f i c u l t y can be cleared up pertains rather to C h r i s t than to him immediately. Before the outrage committed by the d e v i l could be set r i g h t , C h r i s t had to come. Before the souls imprisoned i n h e l l through o r i g i n a l s i n could be freed, Ch r i s t had to come. The c o r r e c t i o n of t h i s l atter-day outrage and the l i b e r a t i o n of these new captives must proceed i n p a r a l l e l sequence i n order that Perceval may s i g n i f y C h r i s t and his deliverance of the Black Hermit's c a s t l e s i g n i f y the harrowing of h e l l . Once again the determinant h i s t o r i c a l structure i s at work, not merely to connect i n d i v i d u a l s , but also to order events. What i s b l a t a n t l y obvious i n t h i s one incident i s present more subtly i n the others. The predicament of the Damsel who cannot d i s -mount from the c a r t , and the broader phenomenon of the fate of the sealed heads, to which i t i s connected, are consequences of s i n i n the l a t t e r age and so they must continue u n t i l the event occurs that s i g n i f i e s the loosing of the bonds of s i n . Sequence and structure are c r u c i a l , as they are for Joseph's s h i e l d . Through Joseph i t i s linked to C h r i s t and to Ch r i s t ' s saving action, and so i t must await both the Good Knight and the new saving act. As i n Joachim, time i s not conceived p r i m a r i l y as a l i n e a r sequence or as a r e l a t i o n s h i p between sequences. I t i s a structure, a g r i d , a system of linkages, and i t generates and reveals meaning with equal ease and effectiveness i n both d i r e c t i o n s . Present r e a l i t i e s — b e they persons, things or e v e n t s — a c q u i r e meaning when t h e i r antecedents I l l i n the previous age are discovered, and they w i l l have further meaning added to them i f they can survive, i n some way or other, u n t i l t h e i r appropriate successor i s joined to them at the r i g h t moment i n the future age. That i s why i t i s so important to preserve the dead, and to maintain t h e i r unique i d e n t i t y . They must be kept i n a known place, watched over by persons who remember who they are and who, or what, they are waiting f o r , because they have a future destiny quite separate from the immortality of the soul or the general r e s u r r e c t i o n , a destiny reserved for them i n d i v i d u a l l y . This w i l l be the great advantage to the Haughty Maiden of Branch IV i n her plan to murder Gawain, Lancelot and Perceval by an ingenious device a l i t t l e l i k e a g u i l l o t i n e and to have t h e i r bodies preserved i n three c o f f i n s r i c h l y adorned, beside which she w i l l eventually l i e i n a fourth. She speaks of her love for them, and of a desire to enjoy them, i n death i f not i n l i f e , but the u l t i -mate destiny she seeks i s t h e i r companionship i n death: A i n s i , f e t ele leur trenchere ge l e s chies qant i l cuideront aorer l e s r e l i q u e s qui sont otre l e s t r o i s p e r t u i s . Apres fere penre l e s cors e metre en cez t r o i s sarqeuz. e molt richement ennorer e e n s e v e l i r . Qar ge ne puis avoir j o i e d'eus a leur v i e , s i en avre j o i e a l a mort; e qant ma f i n s i e r t venue que Dex l e voldra, s i me fere metre o cart sarqeu, e avre l a conpeignie des t r o i s buens c h e v a l i e r s . ^ The companionship of the three knights w i l l do the Maiden no good as they a l l l i e dead side by side, nor would i t matter i n the general resurrec-t i o n , when a l l would r i s e together, and the fates of i n d i v i d u a l s would be determined on moral grounds. In a Joachimite new age, however, these famous and distinguished champions of the New Law w i l l draw to them-selves others l i k e them, and she, through them, w i l l share i n the new 112 s i g n i f i c a n c e attached to them then. She w i l l enjoy a fate analogous to that of the s o l d i e r who took Jesus down from the cross, and whose mortal remains were destined to come into contact with the new Good Knight. There i s , of course, a darker side to such a doctrine of future hope, and not only for t h i s p a r t i c u l a r Haughty Maiden, whose plans are f r u s t r a t e d . Like almost everything i n the apocalyptic world, the fate of the dead i s e s s e n t i a l l y material: i t depends on what becomes of t h e i r corpses. If these are refused b u r i a l , or thrown into common graves, or mutilated or a c t u a l l y destroyed, they have no future destiny. This gives to the l i v i n g enormous power, for good or for i l l , over the dead. I t i s by no means fo r t u i t o u s that when Arthur slays the Black Knight, he leaves h i s body l y i n g on the bare ground i n the meadow i n which he f a l l s , making no e f f o r t to protect i t from the beasts or to mark i t s i d e n t i t y 91 i n any way. The text does no more at t h i s point than to state the bald f a c t that Arthur " l e l e t enmi l a lande, e se t r e s t vers l ' o i s s u e , " and leaves h i s motivation unarticulated. In a l a t e r incident, however, Marin the Jealous i s expressly determined that h i s wife's body w i l l not be buried, and he reacts v i o l e n t l y when another knight attempts to bury i t , as the knight reports: S i r e , ge v o l o i e enterrer l a dame que vos portastes en l a chapele, e Marins i v i n t , s i me corut sus e me navra a i n s i com vos veez; e ge avoie j a l a fosse fete a m'espee por l e cors enterrer qant i l l e me r e t o l i e abandona as bestes sauvages.^ Where Arthur's treatment of the Black Knight might have been motivated by mere i n d i f f e r e n c e , Marin's behaviour i s very d e l i b e r a t e . I t i s one more example of h i s fundamental cowardice, of course: fearing to stand up to Gawain, he has already turned on h i s wife and murdered her, and now continues to vent upon her corpse the rage that he does not dare 113 to turn on a brave and powerful knight. This cowardice, however, finds an o u t l e t only because the preservation of the body i s so important to the i n d i v i d u a l ' s future destiny, making the corpse a v a i l a b l e as an a l t e r -native v i c t i m when the l i v i n g knight i s too frightening an opponent. The same motif recurs i n the duel between Perceval and the Knight of the Dragon. The Damsel of the Golden C i r c l e t has borne about the body of Perceval's cousin, seeking a knight to avenge him. Having found the appropriate avenger i n Perceval she lays down the body on the very p l o t of land on which he was k i l l e d . When thwarted i n h i s attack on the l i v i n g Perceval, the Knight of the Dragon turns on the dead cousin: " L i chevaliers s'en a i r e molt, et passe outre et vient a l a l i t i e r e dou chevalier mort, et torne son escu cele part et l e chief del dragon. II 93 broSst et a r s t tot en poudre l e cors d e l c h e v a l i e r . " His declara-t i o n to Perceval as he incinerates the body leaves no doubt as to h i s 94 motivation: "De c e s t u i . . . enterrer estes vos quites." Obstructing the C h r i s t i a n b u r i a l of the dead i s more than an occasional phenomenon in s p i r e d by jealousy, rage or cowardice. In the course of Arthur's pilgrimage following the taking of Castle Mortal and the r e v e l a t i o n of Kay's crime, the question of proper b u r i a l under the supervision of hermits becomes an important motif i n the larger apocalyp-95 t i c struggle of good and e v i l f orces. The attempt to bury or to pre-vent b u r i a l becomes a s i g n i f i c a n t element i n that struggle. In Branch IX Arthur, Gawain and Lancelot come upon the former Damsel of the Castle of Beards, poor and i n rags and t a t t e r s , l i v i n g i n a dilapidated house i n a dark and lonely f o r e s t , charged with a mission that i s a b i z a r r e parody of the ministry of the hermits who watch over the bodies of the dead: ". . . i l me convenoit porter dedenz cele 114 chambre toz les chevaliers c'on o c i o i t dedenz cele forest e en cest manoir, s i l e s me covenoit g a i t i e r , par costume tote sole sanz conpaignie; e c i l chevalier que j ' a i porte ore a tant jeti dedenz l a forest que le s 96 bestes ont mengie l a moitie dou [c o r s ] . " The f u l l horror of the charnel house she presides over i s barely hinted at, however, i n her reference to bodies eaten away by beasts. The f i r s t impression the knights received was far more shocking: . . . [ l i v a s l e t ] l o r d i s t que i l avoit trove l a plus d e s l o i a l chambre dou mont, car i l i avoit sentu que de testes que de pies d'ommes morz plus de . i i . c! II s'assiet toz esfreez, e pres va q u ' i l ne se pasme. Lanceloz entra en l a chambre por savoir se i l d i s t v e r i t e . II s e n t i les hommes qui l a i e n z estoient mort, s i l e s portasta de c i e f a autre, e semti que i l en i avoit . i . grant tax. II r e v i n t sooir au fou tot r i a n t . y / This parody of b u r i a l , i n which bodies are reduced to dismembered limbs and p i l e d i n a si n g l e great heap, denies a l l p o s s i b i l i t y of preservation of i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y , and thereby becomes a very important part of the reign of e v i l . The dead are under the power of the e v i l forces, and are the i r v ictims, as much as the l i v i n g . The triumph of goodness then involves not only the deliverance of the Damsel from her imposed duty and the conquest of the e v i l s p i r i t s who are her masters, but also the l i b e r a t i o n of the dead from anonymity, a task appropriately performed by hermits: S i com i l i s s i r e n t dou rechet, i l encontrerent . i i i . hermites, qui l o r d i s t r e n t q u ' i l a l o i e n t por les cors qui estoient en eel manoir, s i l e s enterreroient en . i . chapele qui est pres d ' i l u e c ; car t e l chevalier i avoient geU par qui l a hantine des mauvais genz demoreroit, e n'avroient mais pooir de mal f a i r e ; ainz metroient l a i e n s . i . proudom hermite, qui e d e f i e r o i t l e l i u en saintee e por Deu s e r v i r . L i r o i s en fu mout l i e z , e l o r d i s t q u ' i l f e r o i e n t mout grant bien . . . . Denying to the dead t h e i r r i g h t to wait for the future r e v e l a t i o n 115 and enhancement of t h e i r meaning i s i n th i s case a heinous crime per-petrated against the j u s t . Elsewhere, however, i t appears as a r i g h t -eous punishment, s t i l l based on the same p r i n c i p l e s of h i s t o r i c a l structure and of i n d i v i d u a l destiny f u l f i l l e d i n a p r i v i l e g e d i n d i -v i d u a l at a pre-determined time. A good example of such punishment i s the fate of A r i s t o r ' s head i n Branch XI. That A r i s t o r deserves r e t r i b u t i o n 99 i s not i n question; he i s on several counts an obvious candidate for death, and Perceval does, i n f a c t , behead him.''"^ ^ His punishment does not stop with death, however. His i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y i s preserved only long enough for Perceval to take the severed head to Dandrane, to prove to her that her unwanted s u i t o r i s dead.^^ Immediately there-upon he i s d e f i n i t i v e l y consigned to o b l i v i o n , as Dandrane casts h i s 102 head into the r i v e r , to be l o s t as h i s body was l o s t , l y i n g i n the 103 f i e l d where Perceval struck him down. On a larger scale the non-believing knights at the Mad Castle 104 are s i m i l a r l y consigned to o b l i v i o n . When the approach of Perceval, protagonist par excellence of the New Law, has made them f a l l i n a homi-c i d a l rage upon one another, t h e i r punishment i s only begun. Even before turning to the other non-believers, Perceval completes h i s vengeance on the three corpses: "Perlesvaus f a i t porter l e s cors fors de l a sale as v a l l e z qui la i e n z estoient. Quant i l l e s ot f a i t g i t e r 105 en une eue corant, apres l e s o c i s t toz . . . ." The consignment of the dead to o b l i v i o n , to loss of a l l recognisable form, i s also c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the most ove r t l y apocalyptic incidents i n the whole of Perlesvaus. The Black Hermit i s thrown into the s t i n k i n g p i t , just as the d e v i l i s thrown into the lake of f i r e and 106 brimstone i n the Book of Revelation. Another, equally gruesome p i t 116 opens i n the middle of the h a l l where Perceval i s dining at the Castle of the Four Horns and a p i t i f u l moaning moves the diners to tears. The Serpents 1 Ditch receives the knight who would have thrown an 108 innocent lady into i t . In a l l these cases consignment to the p i t threatens disappearance, immersion i n some sort of f o u l muck, darkness, remoteness from the dwelling places of men, everything most opposed to the p i c t u r e of C h r i s t i a n b u r i a l , comprising entombment i n a known place, i l l u m i n a t i o n with the l i g h t at l e a s t of candles i f not of miraculous flame, the companionship of hermits devoted to caring for the dead and to preserving t h e i r memory, and recurring v i s i t a t i o n s by other knights i n future ages. What becomes of the dead has an unmistakably apocalyptic, and s p e c i f i c a l l y Joachimite meaning. I f the dead are preserved, i t i s because t h e i r future destiny i s recognised as dependent on some par-t i c u l a r contact that w i l l give new meaning to t h e i r existence. If they are destroyed, or sent o f f into o b l i v i o n , i t i s i n a conscious e f f o r t to deny them p r e c i s e l y that sort of future f u l f i l l m e n t through the establishment of contact. What happens, or doesn't happen, i n the next age i s a more s i g n i f i c a n t part of the fate of the dead than anything that might or might not happen i n another world—which the author i s generally s i l e n t about—and the destiny of t h e i r bodies i s more impor-tant than the fate of t h e i r s ouls—which i s not often discussed e i t h e r . In those instances where h i s t o r i c a l p a r a l l e l s between i n d i -v iduals are revealed by d i r e c t a s s o c i a t i o n rather than by exegesis a f t e r the f a c t , the necessary linkage may be effected by the actual persons involved or by t h e i r mortal remains, as i n the examples c i t e d above, but i t may also be brought about through the intermediary of some 117 l i n k i n g object. The great s i g n i f i c a n c e attached to r e l i c s i n Perlesvaus i s bound up with the concept of meaning based on h i s t o r i c a l structure and with the need to wait u n t i l the appropriate moment when p a r a l l e l s can be revealed: where i n d i v i d u a l s cannot wait, objects may wait i n th e i r stead, and where the waiting person cannot f i n d the f u l f i l l m e n t of his destiny and the r e v e l a t i o n of h i s f u l l e r meaning through the person who discovers him, some thing may provide i t for him. At both ends of the connection l i n k i n g objects help to span the gap of time when the people concerned, or t h e i r mortal remains, cannot do so. In some instances these objects are part of a r i t u a l and play 109 the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c r o l e of r i t u a l discussed i n Chapter I, but the range of l i n k i n g objects employed extends far beyond those used i n r i t u a l , and t h e i r function i s not confined to the drawing together of diverse i n d i v i d u a l s into a common struggle. I t has as much to do with knowledge and meaning as i t has with power and strength to f i g h t . Not s u r p r i s i n g l y some of the most important l i n k i n g objects are also among the p r i n c i p a l items employed i n r i t u a l , beginning with the G r a i l i t s e l f . However vague the nature and o r i g i n s of t h i s cup may be elsewhere, the G r a i l i n Perlesvaus i s a holy r e l i c of the Lord and of hi s passion and death, as i s made abundantly clear by the v i s i o n that accompanies i t s f i r s t appearance to Gawain: Et l i senble q u ' i l voie t r o i s angres l a ou i l n'en avoit devant veU que . i i . , et l i senble q ' i l v o i t enmi l e Graal l a forme d'un enfant. . . . et l i senble que l i Graax s o i t tot en l ' a i r . Et v o i t , ce l i est av i s , par deseure un home c l o u f i c h i e en une c r o i z , et l i e s t o i t l e glaiv e f i c h i e eu eoste. M i s s i r e Gavains l e v o i t , s i en a grant p i t i e . . . , 1 1 Q I t i s equally a l i n k between ages and events, however, as i s underscored 118 when i t l a t e r appears as a ch a l i c e and becomes the model for chalices to be used throughout Britain."'""'""'' I t may have a nourishing r o l e , as i n other G r a i l romances, but here the pro v i s i o n of s p e c i a l food unquestion-ably takes second place to the prime function of linkage. The nourishing motif i s a c t u a l l y missing completely from the appearance to Gawain, and moreover i s developed quite apart from the G r a i l i n the separate i n c i -dent at the magic fountain."'"''"2 That linkage i s the G r a i l ' s function i s further confirmed a f t e r i t has begun to reappear, when the G r a i l , the Lance and John the Bap-t i s t ' s Sword become a fixed t r i o of r e l i c s honoured together i n the same 113 chapel. Only one of the three objects has even a claim to a nourish-ing r o l e , but a l l three are connected intimately with the l i f e and the age of the Saviour. Other l i n k s along Joachimite l i n e s are established through l i n k -ing objects quite independently of eith e r G r a i l r i t u a l or e c c l e s i a s t i c a l l i t u r g y . Two d i f f e r e n t winding sheets are used i n separate healing mira-c l e s — o f Meliot of Logres and Perceval—and each depends for i t s e f f i -cacy on a l i n k to an appropriate i n d i v i d u a l . Meliot i s healed by the winding sheet of Anurez the Bastard, whom he k i l l e d and by whom he was 114 wounded, a l l i n the same b a t t l e . This miracle has overtones of a magic m o t i f — t h e touch of the one who wounded h e a l s — a n d no great span of time i s bridged, but the fundamental s p i r i t of concordia l i t t e r a e s t i l l p r e v a i l s . The shroud does not heal by i t s nature, nor does Anurez by h i s character or by any property inherent i n him. The shroud r e -creates the l i n k that existed i n the e a r l i e r incident, when Meliot and Anurez fought, and once the l i n k i s reestablished, healing follows; the baneful e f f e c t s of that incident are undone. 119 A more orthodox example of concordia i n i t s d e t a i l s — b e c a u s e i t c l e a r l y spans the gap between p a r a l l e l periods i n d i s t i n c t a g e s — i s furnished by the healing of Perceval with the Lord's own b u r i a l shroud, which Dandrane fetches from the Graveyard Perilous.''*"'^ As Jesus was wrapped i n h i s b u r i a l shroud for the time that he lay i n the tomb, before bursting f o r t h to r i s e from the dead, conquering s i n and death, so Perceval l i e s powerless to avenge the Widow Lady and to conquer her enemies u n t i l that very same b u r i a l shroud has touched h i s eyes, l i n k i n g him to C h r i s t : Beaus f r e r e , vez c i l e saintisme drap que j'aporte de l a chapele d e l A i t r e P e r i l l e x . Besiez l e , et touchiez a vostre v i a i r e ; car un sainz ermites me d i s t que nostre terre ne s e r o i t j a recosse dusc'a cele ore que nos en a v r i o n s . ^ g The linkage once established, the p a r a l l e l r e s u l t i s produced almost i n s t a n t l y : "Perlesvaus l e bese, puis l a toche a ses e l z et a sun v i a i r e . Apres se vet armer, et l i . i i i i . c hevalier ave[c] l u i . Puis i s t hors de l a port[e] conme l i o n s d e s c h a i e n n e z . 7 Between the Lord i n the tomb before h i s triumph over death and Perceval's confinement before h i s v i c t o r y over h i s family's enemies there i s an obvious p a r a l l e l i n Joachim's sense. The moment and the i n d i v i d u a l are the same within t h e i r respective ages, and t h e i r function and r o l e are the same. For the p a r a l l e l to become r e a l and e f f e c t i v e i t i s necessary only that a material l i n k be established between the Lord and Perceval, and once again that l i n k i s forged by an object that has touched the f i r s t at the pertinent time, that bears h i s i d e n t i t y , and that can be brought to the second. V i r t u a l l y equivalent to the b u r i a l cloths are the shields that are likewise preserved as r e l i c s and are used to l i n k t h e i r former 120 owners to t h e i r counterparts i n the new age. The Damsels of the Cart deposit at Arthur's court the s h i e l d of Joseph, the Good Soldier who took Jesus down from the cross. The s h i e l d i s to wait there u n t i l the Good Knight claims i t : . . . e l e f e r o i z pendre a cele colonbe enmi cele sale, e l i garderez; car nus no p o r r o i t oster se c i l non, ne pendre a son c o l . E de cest escu conqerra i l l e Graal. Links are forged again between Jesus and the Good Knight, and between the d e c i s i v e , redemptive moments i n the l i f e of each. The meaning of the Lord's passion i s extended i n the labours of Perceval, and the meaning of the Good Knight's mission to come i s revealed, by the v i c a r i o u s meeting of Good Knight and Good Soldier through the i n t e r -mediary of the s h i e l d . The same s h i e l d , once i n Perceval's possession, serves once more, and more conspicuously, as a revealer of i d e n t i t y and meaning, when Perceval encounters two unusual and c l e a r l y otherworldly men at the Castle of the Four Horns: II l ' e n c l i n e n t e aorent son escu que i l p o r t o i t a son c o l , e besent l a c r o i z e puis l a bocle l a ou les r e liques estoient. " S i r e , font i l , ne vos en m e r v e i l l i e z de ce que nos fesom, quar nos conneumes bien l e chevalier qui l'escu porta ancois de vous. Nous l e veSsmes maintes f o i z ancois que Diex fust c r u c e f i e z . " . . . i l n'avoit point de c r o i z en l'escu devant l a mort Jhesu C r i s t , mes i l l i f i s t metre apres l e crucefiement por l'amor d e l Sauveor, que i l ama m o l t . ^ ^ The painting of a cross on the s h i e l d and the witness of the otherworldly v i s i t o r s add nothing to the r o l e of the s h i e l d , but they r e i n f o r c e i t s power to reveal the meaning of Perceval's l i f e and work by associating them with the l i f e and work of the Saviour. 121 Linking objects need not necessarily be associated with the acts of s a l v a t i o n . The second s h i e l d that serves a l i n k i n g function appears i n very d i f f e r e n t circumstances, but s t i l l plays i t s r o l e according to the p r i n c i p l e s of concordia. This i s the s h i e l d of Judas Maccabeus, who i s presented here, not as a great general or r e l i g i o u s hero, but as a b i r d - t r a i n e r of dubious honesty, " c i l qui afeta un o i s e l a prendre 120 1'autre," and whose s h i e l d becomes the means by which h i s question-able talents are revived by a scoundrel who acquires knights' shields by t r i c k e r y . A damsel explains the scheme to Gawain, when he seems l i k e l y to be v i c t i m i z e d : Avoi'. Messire Gavains, que volez vos fere? S ' i l enporte vostre escu l a dedenz, t u i t c i l du chastel vos tendront por conquis, e vendront ca fors por vos, e vos en menront o chastel par force, o vos serez getez en l a doleureuse prison; car on ne porte leenz escuz se de chevaliers conquis non.^-^ This incident, i n which the timely advice given him saves Gawain from consenting to the proposed trade of s h i e l d s , i s at best a s i d e l i g h t to the main concerns of Perlesvaus, and i s even mildly humorous, but i t s t i l l obeys the p r i n c i p l e s of concordia l i t t e r a e , and perhaps because i t i s l e s s than wholly serious or e d i f y i n g , the working of those p r i n c i p l e s i s brought into starker r e l i e f . There i s no s i m i l a r i t y between t h i s dishonest knight and the Judas Maccabeus known to the Old Testament or even to the author of Perlesvaus, who c a l l s him by the 122 same t i t l e of "Good Knight" r e g u l a r l y ascribed to Perceval himself. The s i m i l a r i t y l i e s i n the purely material, external order: as Judas Maccabeus uses one b i r d to capture another, the knight uses one s h i e l d to win a second, and with i t the knight who bears i t . Judas Maccabeus l i v e s l a t e i n the f i r s t age, and the d e c e i t f u l knight l a t e i n the c 122 second. In s i m i l a r i t y of function and of h i s t o r i c a l moment the meaning of the knight's behaviour i s imposed by the Joachimite s t r u c -ture. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , he even t e s t i f i e s to the element of compulsion i n h i s own experience. He has found his constantly repeated scheme a burden, and i s glad to be r e l i e v e d of i t : C i devant cest chastel avoit trespas de chevaliers maintes f o i z , e de hardiz e de coarz, s i me covenoit a toz j o s t e r e rendre mellee; e leur fesoie present de l'escu conqerre a l t r e s s i com ge f i s vos. Je trovoie l e s pluseurs hardiz e deffensables, q i me navroient en pluseurs leus, mes onques mes chevaliers ne m'abati, ne ne donna s i grant cop com vos fexstes. E puis que vos enportez l'escu e ge s u i conquis, james chevaliers qui past devant cest chastel n'avra garde de moi . . . Much as he wanted to change his ways before, he couldn't. Now that the s h i e l d i s gone, there i s no question but that he must. The s h i e l d , i n other words, binds him to Judas Maccabeus, and absolutely obliges him to behave i n p a r a l l e l fashion. In another world he could have thrown the s h i e l d away long ago, or put i t to other use i f he wanted, or, on the other hand, i f he had wished to pursue h i s dishonest scheme af t e r h i s defeat, he could have found another s h i e l d and t o l d the same story about i t . In the Joachimite world of concordia l i t t e r a e and the epistemology underlying i t , however, such options do not e x i s t . The object creates the linkage, the linkage i n turn determines the course of the i n d i v i d u a l s ' l i v e s , and t h i s rather f r i v o l o u s l i t t l e story exemplifies the process as c l e a r l y as any of the more prominent and s i g n i f i c a n t elements of the p l o t . Somewhat more complex and involved i s the story of the Golden C i r c l e t , which i s also a l i n k i n g object. Its basic connection with past events of s a l v a t i o n h i s t o r y i s not i n question: t h i s i s the crown of thorns which the Saviour of the world wore on h i s head. Nor i s 123 there any doubt about i t s preservation i n the present age p r e c i s e l y as a l i n k to the past: i t has become a r e l i c , set i n gold and precious stones by the Queen who has custody of i t , and made an object of wor-124 ship by pilgrims come to her c a s t l e s p e c i a l l y to see i t . The r o l e of the Golden C i r c l e t i s somewhat complicated by the number of hands through which i t passes. The second terminus of the l i n k i n g process ought to be Perceval, and i t should be associated somehow with h i s d e f i n i t i v e conquest of the powers of e v i l i n h i s own day: the Saviour wore i t i n h i s moment of triumph; the Good Knight should wear i t i n h i s . Instead, however, i t i s apparently destined to pass into the hands of the knight who f i r s t v i s i t e d the G r a i l , who i s 125 Gawain. He does i n fa c t acquire i t , but only at the end of a com-plex adventure. In obedience to a promise made long before, he i s embroiled i n a confusing exchange of disguises with Arthur as they 126 p a r t i c i p a t e together i n a three-day tournament. He must f i g h t bravely i n one guise on the f i r s t day, dishonourably i n h i s own arms on the second, and bravely i n yet another guise on the t h i r d , causing the 127 judges some d i f f i c u l t y i n awarding the p r i z e . The i n t r o d u c t i o n of the r i t u a l of tournament competition, of Gawain's r e l a t i o n s h i p s with women, and of the force of h i s e a r l i e r promise of b l i n d obedience obscures the underlying l i n k of the Promised Saviour and the Promised Knight through the intermediary of the crown of thorns. That l i n k e x i s t s , however. In the i n t e r v a l between i t s introduction as a r e l i c and i t s c o n f e r r a l as a tournament trophy, the crown becomes c l o s e l y associated with Perceval and h i s struggle against some of the major p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s of the forces of e v i l . The lady who has custody of the C i r c l e t i s i n need of a champion to 124 128 b a t t l e the Knight of the Dragon. Perceval becomes the champion, but 129 not merely to conclude a family feud or to champion a good cause. He i s also defending the i n t e r e s t s of King Arthur: . . . se vos ociez l e chevalier, vos avroiz garantie l a t e r r e l e r o i Artu, que i l meance a e s s i l l i e r , et totes l e s autres terres qui marchissent a l a seue, car i l ne het tant nul r o i com i l f e t l u i , . . Perceval i s engaging himself i n an even wider struggle than that more-over. The Knight of the Dragon i s one of the major demon figures i n whom the powers of e v i l l i v e , and the conversions from Old Law to New that accompany the a r r i v a l of Perceval at the Turning Castle put the 131 whole incident f i r m l y within the context of the apocalyptic struggle. As Perceval i s approaching t h i s c a s t l e , he and h i s companions are given a warning which makes e x p l i c i t the connection between the Golden C i r c l e t , the G r a i l , and the broader cause of the New Law—"II n ' i d o i t passer se c i l non qui l e chevalier d o i t conquerre et l e Cercle d'Or et l e Graal 132 et l a fause l o i du c h a s t e l " — a n d the point i s well taken. The Golden C i r c l e t i s at the centre of a complex of objects and circum-stances that h i g h l i g h t the ultimate s i g n i f i c a n c e of Perceval's f i g h t with the Knight of the Dragon and unite i t to the struggle and triumph of C h r i s t . Perceval wins the C i r c l e t as C h r i s t receives the crown of thorns. Perceval's s h i e l d contains r e l i c s of the cross by which C h r i s t won h i s v i c t o r y . Perceval, l i k e C h r i s t , i s wounded on the r i g h t side of h i s body. The dragon i s destroyed i n a clap of thunder and l i g h t n i n g evocative of the natural phenomena accompanying the moment of C h r i s t ' s death. A l e i n of Escavalon i s avenged on the very spot on which the Knight of the Dragon k i l l e d him, suggesting the t r a d i t i o n that C h r i s t was c r u c i -133 f i e d on the spot where Adam was buried. The Golden C i r c l e t i s thus a 125 l i n k i n g object i n orthodox Joachimite fashion, j o i n i n g the appropriate i n d i v i d u a l s at the r i g h t moments i n h i s t o r y . That Perceval decides not to take i t with h i m — f o r the excellent reason that he i s not sure where he i s going next—and that i t thus remains a v a i l a b l e as a tournament 134 trophy, does not fundamentally a l t e r i t s basic r o l e . Several other objects i n Perlesvaus also play s i m i l a r l i n k i n g r o l e s , though they are le s s prominent or s i g n i f i c a n t i n themselves. One of these minor items i s the pair of p l i e r s with which the n a i l s were removed from the Lord's body. They are merely an accessory to the body 135 of the man who helped remove the body. The connection of the Good Knight to the Saviour i s adequately established already through the body, but the object provides a further l i n k f u l l y consistent with the same p r i n c i p l e s . The sword with which John the Baptist was beheaded also belongs i n the category of secondary l i n k i n g objects, not because i t i s a minor motif i n i t s e l f , but because i t belongs within an incident of the second rank, i n v o l v i n g Gawain rather than the Good Knight himself. I t would be audacious to associate Gawain presenting the only son of King Gurgaran to be eaten by the king's subjects with John the Baptist pre-136 senting Jesus, who i s to be eaten sacramentally by C h r i s t i a n s , but the l i n k with John the Baptist i s r e a l nonetheless. Gawain i s the secondary fi g u r e who shares i n the work of the Good Knight i n h i s own preliminary way, sl a y i n g the giant who i s a minor representative of the powers of e v i l that Perceval w i l l confront i n graver forms, and i n s p i r i n g King Gurgaran to convert to the New Law and to force h i s subjects to choose between conversion and death, j u s t as Perceval w i l l do i n other circumstances l a t e r . Gawain i s d e f i n i t e l y Perceval's John 126 the Baptist, and he i s linked to John the Baptist by the appropriate 137 object presented to him at a s u i t a b l e moment. F i n a l l y , the white mule that Perceval rides at the conquest of Castle Mortal i s also a l i n k i n g object. I t formerly belonged to Joseph of Arimathea when he was a s o l d i e r under P i l a t e , then came into the possession of the Hermit King. The mule's h i s t o r y , the cross on i t s forehead and i t s presence at both the c r u c i f i x i o n and the reconquest of the G r a i l mark i t as a standard l i n k i n g object. I t can be relegated to the second rank only with some q u a l i f i c a t i o n , since i t i s unquestionably one of Perceval's important sources of strength i n the f i n a l assault on Castle Mortal: "La vertu de Nostre Seignor e l a bonte de l a mule e l a saintee des bons hermites p l a i s a s i l a force des chevaliers q u ' i l n'orent 138 pooir de aus mexsmes. . . ." Here and elsewhere, however, i t i s only one of several sources of power. There i s another animal that i s equally "de par Dieu", namely the white l i o n — w h i c h i s not a Joachimite l i n k — t h e r e i s a banner which also bears God's power within i t , as Perceval's uncle t e l l s him: "e s i prenez l e fanon, s i perdront vostre anemi auques de l o r force; car nule chose ne confont s i tost anemi com 139 f a i t l a vertu de Deu," and there are the monks, mentioned i n the same breath as the goodness of the mule, whose prayers are a very important weapon against the defenders of the c a s t l e and i t s bridges. In t h i s c l i m a c t i c b a t t l e a l l the possible sources of divine power are invoked and play t h e i r part. Linkage i s only part of the t o t a l p i c t u r e , and the mule i s far from being the c e n t r a l and dominating motif. Not a l l objects i n Perlesvaus are l i n k s to the past, therefore, j u s t as not a l l corpses are waiting to share t h e i r meaning with someone 127 yet to come. There i s , however, a d e f i n i t e and widespread tendency to use material objects i n t h i s way. The implements of r i t u a l and objects of devotion, holy r e l i c s and weapons can a l l be found standing i n the place of i n d i v i d u a l s and incidents associated with them i n the past, and imparting the meaning of those i n d i v i d u a l s and incidents to new persons i n a new age. To have meaning, whether i n Joachim or i n Perlesvaus, i s l a r g e l y a matter of f i n d i n g a counterpart, v i r t u a l l y a twin, and i n the funda-mentally material world i n which both l i v e that means es t a b l i s h i n g physical contact, d i r e c t l y i f possible, through a l i n k i n g object i f necessary. Such objects are thus a s i g n i f i c a n t element i n the e p i s t e -mology c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Perlesvaus. They are part of the larger phenomenon of the generation of meaning out of extension through time and linkage of i n d i v i d u a l s , that i s to say of the concept of knowledge and meaning that l i e s at the core of the basic way of thinking about l i f e that finds expression i n Perlesvaus. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Conclusion Perlesvaus i s not a planned and deliberate exposition of the p r i n c i p l e s of concordia l i t t e r a e or of Joachimite doctrine i n general. It i s a l o o s e l y connected narrative of Arthurian adventures. Yet i t i s a narrative created by an author with c e r t a i n o r i e n t a t i o n of mind and with d e f i n i t e preoccupations, which exert a strong influence on his w r i t i n g , and which are c l o s e l y akin to Joachimite concordia. The Joachimite categories of being are not the external and the i n t e r n a l , 128 the p a r t i c u l a r and the u n i v e r s a l , the material and the s p i r i t u a l , thing and word, being and becoming, or language and i t s transformations. They are rather "then", "now", and "someday", and knowledge consists i n the correct organization of "then", "now" and "someday" into a coherent structure and the accurate placement of persons, things and events i n t h e i r appropriate place within that structure. Joachim's mind i s oriented strongly toward such h i s t o r i c a l structures, he i s preoccupied with chronology, and, on both counts, the author of Perlesvaus resembles hxm. In at l e a s t two d i f f e r e n t senses the categories "then", "now" and "someday" express the recurring preoccupation that gives thematic unity to Perlesvaus. S u p e r f i c i a l l y , what was then i s no longer now: Arthur's kingdom has f a l l e n into decline; i t s l i f e , i t s values, i t s purpose have a l l faded away, and i t i s not yet clear what w i l l someday take t h e i r place. Indeed, the p r i n c i p a l heroes of Perlesvaus devote much of t h e i r time and e f f o r t , i n pilgrimage, moral repentance and f i g h t i n g to overcoming the enemies that have destroyed t h e i r old way of l i f e and to creating a newer, better and h o l i e r order to take i t s place. T r a n s i t i o n from one age to another—portrayed i n terms derived as much from Joachimite doctrine as from Arthurian t r a d i t i o n — i s a consistent, major theme i n Perlesvaus, and i s one source of i t s unity, coherence and meaning. On a more profound l e v e l too, however, Perlesvaus i s a story of "then", "now" and "someday". The decline of the old order i s character-ized by ignorance and confusion, and the c r e a t i o n of the new order requires r e v e l a t i o n : the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of enemies, the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of a l l i e s , the discovery of personal i d e n t i t i e s and r o l e s . This process, 129 too, as we attempted to demonstrate by numerous examples of formal exegesis and of the subtler influence of concordia l i t t e r a e , i s organized around the categories "then", "now" and "someday". When an i n d i v i d u a l i s located i n time and space—when he i s fixed i n p o s i t i o n on a time s c a l e — t h e n h i s i d e n t i t y , h i s r e l a t i o n to God and God's enemies, his r o l e and his future destiny stand revealed. He then c a n — and indeed must—take h i s place i n the struggle to bring about the new age. What once was reveals the meaning of what i s , and what i s and was determines the meaning of what w i l l be. Perlesvaus i s thus an apocalyptic romance, i n which knightly heroes and chivalrous adventures are a l l subsumed i n the greater struggle of God's friends to achieve c o l l e c t i v e s a l v a t i o n i n the face of the h o s t i l i t y of God's enemies, but i t i s also a s p e c i a l kind of apocalyptic romance, i n which h i s t o r i c a l structure and the d i v i s i o n s of time have a unique importance i n both the waging of the struggle and the discovery of i t s meaning. 130 Notes to Chapter II "'"This survey of C h r i s t i a n apocalyptic i s based on Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millenium: Revolutionary Milleriarians and M y s t i c a l  Anarchists of the Middle Ages (London: Maurice Temple Smith, 1970), pp. 29-34. 2"The Symbolism of the Perlesvaus," PMLA 61 (1946), pp. 42-83. 3 The f i n a l defeat of the King of Castle Mortal i s presented as a symbolic c r u c i f i x i o n , the nine bridges as stations on the Way of the Cross, Meliot de Logres represents C h r i s t as a c h i l d , Perceval's comings and goings on h i s ship represent the public ministry of Jesus, Gawain for a time represents John the Baptist then becomes Peter, Kay i s Judas, Arthur's pilgrimage to Saint Augustine's chapel represents Paul's experience on the road to Damascus, and so on. 4 Cohn's work i s p r i m a r i l y devoted to cataloguing the recurring outbreaks of apocalyptic fervour that were a regular feature of l i f e i n Northern Europe i n the Middle Ages, and i s a convenient source of information on them. " 'A b r i e f resume of Joachim's l i f e and thought i s appended to t h i s study; the p r i n c i p a l d e t a i l s of h i s apocalyptic doctrine are included there along with references to the works i n which they are expounded. Such references are consequently omitted for the most part from the body of the text, and the reader i s i n v i t e d to consult the appendix for any necessary c l a r i f i c a t i o n of Joachim's teaching. As suggested above, p. 61. ^William A. Nitze, et. a l . , Le Haut L i v r e du Graal Perlesvaus (Chicago: the University of Chicago Press, 1937), I I , 10-11. The manuscripts from the north are: the Brussels Manuscript, l i k e l y Walloon, the Paris Manuscript, also Walloon, the C h a n t i l l y Manuscript from A r t o i s , 1 and the Bern Manuscript, from Picardy. Q The Relationship of the Perlesvaus and the Queste d e l Saint  Graal, D i s s e r t a t i o n , Chicago, 1934, reprinted i n the B u l l e t i n of  University of Kansas, Humanistic Studies V, no. 4, July 1936. William Nitze, q.v. directed the t h e s i s . 9 P e r l . , 11. 7569-7602. This reference i s l e s s u s e f u l only because, while mentioning Avalon and describing what i s c l e a r l y Glastonbury Tor, i t does not speak of the eleventh-century tombs and r e l i g i o u s establishment there: t h i s i s , a f t e r a l l , a part of the story, not a colophon. 131 "^Nitze, op. c i t . , pp. 45-61. Other descriptions of the reinterment are l i s t e d on p. 62. "'"''"Kelly, op. c i t . , pp. 11-12. 12 «, The Relationship of the Perlesvaus and the Queste del Saint  Graal, ch. 1. 1 3 I n "The Symbolism of the Perlesvaus," PMLA 61, 1946, pp. 42ff., and elsewhere, where he in t e r p r e t s Perlesvaus as a symbolical New Testament. Cf. above p. 60. 14 Information on the spread of Joachimism.is derived from M. Bloomfield and M. Reeves, "The Penetration of Joachimism into Northern Europe" i n Delno C. West, ed., Joachim of Fiore i n C h r i s t i a n  Thought (New York: Burt Franklin, 1975) . Unlike the Tractatus Robert's work i s published, i n the Monumenta Germaniae H i s t o r i c a , Scriptorum tomus XXVI (Hanover, 1882, reprinted 1965). Joachim i s mentioned on pp. 248-49. 16 On Joachim's reputation a f t e r the Lateran Council see M. Gibbs and J . Lang, Bishops and Reform 1215-1272 with Special Reference to the Lateran Council of 1215 (London, 1934), p. 105. On Adam Marsh see Bloomfield and Reeves, op. c i t . , p. 120. On Roger Bacon, mentioned i n passing by Bloomfield and Reeves, see d e t a i l s i n the New Catholic  Encyclopedia XII, 552. 17 Ralph of Coggeshall, Chronicon Anglicanum, ed. by J . Stevenson, Ro l l s Series LXVI, pp. 67-70. 18 Stevenson's source i s an autograph. 19 Chronicon Anglicanum, p. 36. 20 Nitze, op. c i t . , pp. 64-65. 21 B. McGinn, "The Abbot and the Doctors: Scholastic Reaction to the Radical Eschatology of Joachim of F i o r e , " i n West, op. c i t . , pp. 453-71. 22 Bloomfield and Reeves, op. c i t . , p. 117. P e r l . , 11. 15-17. 132 24 I b i d . , 11. 3940-44. 25 Ibid., 11. 6046-48. I t was already prophesied e a r l i e r that the inhabitants of the Turning Castle would be converted by a perfect knight who would be a v i r g i n , 1. 5792. 26 Ibid., 11. 1812ff. 27 Ibid., 11. 6990-92. 28 Ibid., 11. 6995-96, 29 Ibid., 11. 2782-87. 30 To c i t e only one sequence of events i n which hermit informants prove t h e i r worth: Gawain f i r s t learns from one hermit about the Knight of the Sea and the Knight of the Land, then finds out from another that Perceval i s appearing i n disguise (11. 4184ff.); Lancelot learns of Perceval's l a t e s t appearances and finds out about h i s change of s h i e l d through a v i s i t to the hermitage of Joseus (11. 4495ff.), who also prepares him for an encounter with the kinsmen of four robber knights that he formerly hanged for t h e i r crimes; Joseus then provides s i m i l a r information about Perceval to Gawain, then add, for him as for Lancelot, a report of personal i n t e r e s t , about Meliot of Logres and his quarrel with Nabigan of the Rock (11. 4687ff.). 31 P e r l . , 11. 2153ff, 32 Ib i d . , 11.5975ff, 33 Ibid., 11. 3647ff. 34 Ib i d . , 11. 4909ff. 35 Ib i d . , 11. 7591ff, 36 Ib i d . , 11. 8776ff. 37 Ibid., 11. 9818ff, 38 Ibid., 11. 10135-37, 39 This i s true of the master of the p r i e s t s who explains so many things to Gawain at the Castle of Inquest (11. 2140ff.). Neither he 133 nor h i s companions are said to be hermits, but he i s attached to the c a s t l e which stands at the entrance to the Fisher King's lands, which are so remote as to be undiscoverable by most men. These p r i e s t s are servants of the G r a i l , as i s the p r i e s t mentioned i n 1. 941, who i s not expressly c a l l e d a hermit e i t h e r . 40 P e r l . , 1. 941. 4 1 I b i d . , 11. 1634-48. 4 2 I b i d . , 11. 1697ff. 4 3 I b i d . , 11. 5967-73. 44 Ibid., 11. 4188ff. Gawain finds out that the mysterious knight i s Perceval only at 1. 4356. 4 5 I b i d . , 11. 6067-69. 46 Two groups within ten l i n e s : 9818 and 9828. 4 7 P e r l . , 11. 10062-64. 4 8 I b i d . , 11. 10119-21. 4 9 I b i d . , 11. 10177-81. """^Ibid., 11. 4082-129. Perceval i s f a s t asleep, somewhat l i k e the sleepers of apocalyptic legend. "^""Anyone f a m i l i a r with the t r a d i t i o n a l c a r o l "King Jesus hath a Garden" w i l l recognize t h i s as the sort of meaning attached to the various flowers: the l i l y white i s p u r i t y , the gentle, fragrant v i o l e t humility, the l o v e l y damask rose patience, the r i c h and f r u i t -f u l marigold obedience and so f o r t h . Those acquainted with psychoanalysis may also f i n d t h i s sort of outer-inner linkage f a m i l i a r , though they would have experienced i t i n very d i f f e r e n t form. 52 By the same epistemology with a d i f f e r e n t d o c t r i n a l b a s i s , the European revolutions of 1848 derive meaning from t h e i r place i n the long drawn-out overthrow of the merchant class by workers, and of the C a p i t a l i s t system by the Communist. 53 The terms are Joachim's. See the P s a l t e r i o n 264, 4. 134 54 These modes and types are also alleged to be related to the d i f f e r e n t persons of the T r i n i t y : the f i r s t three res p e c t i v e l y to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the fourth to Father and Son, the f i f t h to Father and Holy Ghost, the s i x t h to Son and Holy Ghost, the seventh to the T r i n i t y as a whole. Joachim associates each of the three ages i n h i s theory of h i s t o r y with a person of the T r i n i t y , and i n p r a c t i c e his a s s o c i a t i o n of the f i r s t type with the Father and so on r e a l l y means that i t i s connected with the age of the Father, and likewise for each of the other modes. The fundamental category i s once again time, 55 Henri de Lubac, Exegese medievale: les quatre sens de  1' e c r i t u r e (Paris, Montaigne, 1959), t. I l l , p. 442. Cf. Psalterium  decern chordarum 264, 5. ""^"Concordia non secundum totum exigenda est, sed secundum quod c l a r i u s et evidentius est; non secundum cursum h i s t o r i a e sed secundum quid." Concordia 1. 4, c.I. 57 The P l a t i o n i s t can do the same with Arthur: having made the connection Arthur-King, he can make meaningful statements about Arthur and have the same f e e l i n g of mental mastery over him. 58 The a r t i f i c i a l i t y that the average modern reader senses i n Joachim's d i v i s i o n of time might be expressed by the analogy of a g r i d placed over a map. The neat pattern of squares superimposed on the mountain ranges of B r i t i s h Columbia i s not a r e a l representation of the province. The mountains and r i v e r s , v a l l e y s and canyons, and a l l the other confused d e t a i l s of the landscape are the r e a l i t y . The squares are an admittedly contrived pattern put i n place to make the r e a l i t y easier to t a l k about. The opposite, however, i s true from Joachim's point of view. For him the structure i s the r e a l i t y . In the example of the map the landscape would not determine what appeared i n any given square of the g r i d ; the pattern of the g r i d would determine what could appear at a given point of the landscape. The North Thompson could flow into the Thompson at Kamloops only i f the fixed pattern of the g r i d required i t to do so. 5 9 P e r l . , 11. 2160-252. ^ T h e r e are other d e t a i l s involved, granted: the Black Hermit does resemble L u c i f e r . "Quod c l a r i u s et evidentius est" i n t h i s case i s c l e a r l y a place within a determined course of events running p a r a l l e l to another course of events i n a d i f f e r e n t age. 6 1 P e r l . , 11. 2200-203. 6 2 I b i d . , 11. 2207-211. 6 3 I b i d . , 11. 2222-24. 135 6 4 I b i d . , 11. 2217-18. 6 5 I b i d . , 11. 2225-33. Ibi d . , 11. 2246-50. I t may be noted that, while proceeding according to the same p r i n c i p l e s , the exegeses become progressively le s s d e t a i l e d . Two causes seem l i k e l y for t h i s phenomenon. F i r s t , considerations of s t y l e m i l i t a t e against the m u l t i p l i c a t i o n of long and elaborate explanatory passages; and secondly, the reader's increasing f a m i l i a r i t y with the pattern ought to make such repe-t i t i o n unnecessary. 67 The explanations are again grouped, P e r l . , 11. 5976-6054. 6 8 I b i d . , 11. 5983-6006. I b i d . , 11. 6011-24. Perceval has seen two p r i e s t s approach the cross near which the beast was k i l l e d . The one kisses and adores the cross, the other beats i t with a s t i c k . A p a r a l l e l with the cross of C h r i s t i s involved, of course, but the explanation rests equally on the memories and emotions of the two men: the one thought of the redemption, and was moved to love, the other remembered the Lord's s u f f e r i n g s , and hated the cross on which he endured them. Further-more, crosses n a t u r a l l y resemble one another, and t h i s p a r t i c u l a r one could thus have triggered the appropriate emotional reactions without the symbolic scene enacted at i t s foot, and thus without any s p e c i f i c connection to the cross of C h r i s t . On the whole, therefore, not strong evidence for the presence of Joachimite p r i n c i p l e s . 7 0 I b i d . , 11. 6033-38. 7 1 I b i d . , 11. 6041-43, 7 2 I b i d . , 11. 6051-52, 7 3 I b i d . , 11. 474-75, 7 4 I b i d . , 11. 130ff, 7 5 I b i d . , 11. 1029-33. 7 6 I b i d . , 11. 2286-87, Ibid., 11. 4916ff. 136 7 8 I b i d . , 11. 4942-44. 7 9 I b i d . , 11. 6291-354. 80 The c o f f i n i s f i r s t encountered at 11. 469ff. pi P e r l . , 11. 5236-41. o p I b i d . , 11. 9827ff. Q O Ibid., 11. 10118-25. 8 4 I b i d . , 11. 618-20. 8 5 I b i d . , 11. 622-27. 8 6 I b i d . , 11. 1056ff. 8 7 I b i d . , 11. 1408ff. 8 8 I b i d . , 11. 2785-86. 8 9 I b i d . , 11. 770-73. 9 0 I b i d . , 11. 1466-71. 9 1 I b i d . , 1. 401. 9 2 I b i d . , 11. 1422-25. 9 3 I b i d . , 11. 5857-59. 94 Ibid., 11. 5857-60. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , the dead knight retains a s p e c i a l connection with the only two people who continue to know his i d e n t i t y , because they witnessed h i s body's destruction. At the suggestion of the damsel who i s one of the witnesses, h i s ashes are used to heal the wounded shoulder of Perceval, the other. L l . 5892-96. 9 5 I b i d . , 11. 6394ff. 9 6 l b i d . , 11. 6450-55. 137 9 7 I b i d . , 11. 6416-22. 9 8 I b i d . , 11. 6513-20. 99 A r i s t o r i s the murderer of a good hermit and the abductor of Perceval's own s i s t e r , whom he intends to marry by force (11. 8723ff.). The apocalyptic doctrine of j u s t i c e i s eminently applicable to him: God w i l l not bear with him any longer (11. 8770ff.), and he i s deemed to deserve death quite apart from h i s sl a y i n g of the Knight Hardy—which he did i n f a i r f i g h t . 1 0 0 P e r l . , 11. 8772-73. 1 0 1 I b i d . , 11. 8887-88. 102 Ibid., 1. 8894. 103 This incident i s a p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e i l l u s t r a t i o n of the importance of b u r i a l or i t s den i a l , because i t contains two other i n c i -dents framed within i t that contrast s t r i k i n g l y with the fate of A r i s t o r . The body of the Knight Hardy i s entrusted to the same hermit who had absolved him and prepared him for death (11. 8778-85), and the damsel who has so long borne about the knight's head now has i t buried properly and arranges to have Mass sung r e g u l a r l y for h i s soul (11. 8859-61). The appropriate reward or punishment i s meted out to the mortal remains of each of the three men, not to th e i r souls i n heaven. 104 P e r l . , 11. 9101ff. "*"^^Ibid., 11. 9111-13. Most of the non-believers to whom Perceval then addresses himself are put to death, though the w e l l -disposed Celestre i s converted. 1 0 6 I b i d . , 11. 9988ff. 1 0 7 I b i d . , 11. 9600ff. 1 0 8 I b i d . , 11. 8997-9032. "*"^9Cf. above, pp. 41ff. 1 1 0 P e r l . , 11. 2438-50. m i b i d . , 11. 7865ff. 138 112 There Gawain encounters three damsels carrying r e s p e c t i v e l y a golden vessel of bread, an ivory vessel of wine and a s i l v e r vessel of meat, as well as a young c l e r i c who takes yet another ve s s e l , with an u n i d e n t i f i e d substance, from a p i l l a r near the fountain. This r i t u a l i s ordered to the nourishing and healing of hermits and of the knight who l i e s a i l i n g at the home of his uncle the Hermit King, but i t i s not connected with the l i f e of the Fisher King, and none of the vessels involved i s c a l l e d t h e — o r a — G r a i l . P e r l . , 11.1949ff. 1 1 3 I b i d . , 11. 6254-56. 1 1 4 I b i d . , 11. 8300ff. 115 This lengthy incident i s described i n d e t a i l , 11. 5052-172. 1 1 6 I b i d . , 11. 5347-49. 1 1 7 I b i d . , 11. 5349-51. 1 1 8 I b i d . , 11. 625-27. 119 I b i d . , 11. 9559-68. Perceval i s amazed to lea r n that the v i s i t i n g men, who appear quite young, knew Joseph of Arimathea, who l i v e d so far i n the past. 120 Ibid., 1. 791. 1 2 1 I b i d . , 11. 823-27. 122 I b i d . , 1. 817. 1 2 3 I b i d . , 11. 834-41. 1 2 4 I b i d . , 11. 4524ff. 1 2 5 I b i d . , 1. 4528. 126 Gawain's promise to do whatever was asked of him by the f i r s t maiden to make a request was made i n order to obtain John the Baptist's death sword. 1 2 7 P e r l . , 11. 6796-956. 139' 128 She bears a grudge against the Knight of the Dragon because he murdered A l e i n of Escavalon, whom she loved. 129 Perceval i s a r e l a t i v e of the dead A l e i n of Escavalon. 1 3°Perl., 11. 5690-93. 131 P e r l . , 1. 5799. Cf., K e l l y , A Str u c t u r a l Study, p. 105. 1 3 2 P e r l . , 11. 5732-34. 133 See K e l l y , l o c . c i t . P e r l . , 11. 5917-20. The p a r a l l e l with Ch r i s t ' s triumph i s emphasized by the way i n which the Golden C i r c l e t i s given to Perceval, i n what i s unmistakably a coronation ceremony. The Queen places the c i r c l e t on Perceval's head, puts the sword into h i s hand, and t e l l s him e x p l i c i t l y that with t h i s sword he receives the power of l i f e and death over her subjects. He may thus convert or destroy a l l who hold to the Old Law. He becomes r u l e r of a new kingdom i n a new age, j u s t as C h r i s t di d , and he i s linked to C h r i s t by the crown that they both receive when acclaimed as kings. 135 Cf. above, p. I l l , and P e r l . , 11. 5326-41. 136 Though Gawain does present the son. P e r l . , 1. 2057. 137 This i s both the r i g h t moment for him, when the new age i s dawning and when he has an opportunity to j o i n i n the Good Knight's struggle, and the r i g h t moment for the sword, at noon, when i t bleeds d a i l y i n memory of the Bap t i s t , beheaded at that hour. P e r l . , 11. 1980-2071. 1 3 8 I b i d . , 11. 6195-97. 1 3 9 I b i d . , 11. 6079-81. 140 These s t r u c t u r a l categories of time should not be confused with the f a c t u a l question of what happened when. P a r t i c u l a r moments i n past and future are as important to the author of Perlesvaus as they are to Joachim, even though he may set out the order l e s s syste-m a t i c a l l y , but that concern f o r time structures does not go hand i n hand with any commensurate s k i l l , or f o r that matter i n t e r e s t , i n the actual reckoning of chronology. When i t comes to i n d i c a t i n g who l i v e d when and which event occurred before which other—and by how l o n g — t h e author of Perlesvaus i s as thoroughly l o s t as any other mediaeval w r i t e r . Unlike even the author of the Queste d e l Saint Graal he takes no pains 140 to i n d i c a t e when his story i s set. The atmosphere seems near contemporary, with i t s a l l u s i o n s to towns s e t t i n g up communes, to tournaments, to the menace of the Saracens and t h e i r f a l s e law. Certainly, too, the entombed bodies and the preserved r e l i c s from the time of C h r i s t seem old, old enough for people no longer to remember the man who proves to be Josephus. On the other hand, the introduction to Branch 1 reveals that Joseph of Arimathea was Perceval's great uncle, which would place the story well w i t h i n New Testament times. On the other hand s t i l l , though, not only do the l i f e and death of Chri s t appear as part of the distant p a s t — n o t as events of the preceding t h i r t y or f o r t y y e a r s — b u t there i s even a chapel of Saint Augustine awaiting Arthur's v i s i t . A t h i r t e e n t h -century man could probably not date Augustine and the coming of the f a i t h to B r i t a i n with the p r e c i s i o n expected i n modern times, but even he would not have thought Augustine a contemporary of Jesus himself, and would have avoided t h i s g l a r i n g anachronism i f he had had the s l i g h t e s t i n t e r e s t i n such matters at a l l . CHAPTER III APOCALYPTIC SPIRIT AND MYSTICAL DOCTRINE  THE QUESTE DEL SAINT GRAAL The Queste del saint Graal d i f f e r s from Perlesvaus i n almost every conceivable respect,''" including the degree of attention i t has received from c r i t i c s . I t therefore need not, and may not, be approached i n the same way as Perlesvaus. Much greater weight must be given to previous scholarship, and a f u l l e r account of i t must be given than was offered i n the Introduction. I t i s the obvious s t a r t i n g point for a l l further speculation concerning the c e n t r a l and u n i f y i n g theme of the Queste. E s s e n t i a l l y c r i t i c a l assessments of the Queste are reducible to one of four general p o s i t i o n s , emphasizing res p e c t i v e l y moral struggle, growth i n and through grace, s p i r i t u a l enlightenment and knighthood. To the extent that the author himself adopts a p o s i t i o n regarding h i s own work—and he does, by means of hermit exegetes comparable to those of Perlesvaus—he i n c l i n e s toward morality and grace far more than toward enlightenment or knighthood. Despite h i s p r i v i l e g e d p o s i t i o n , however, his view does not i n v a l i d a t e the conclusions of those who think d i f f e r -e ntly. Whatever may have seemed most important to him, and to the c r i t i c s who share h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , i t cannot be denied that the r e v e l a t i o n of secrets plays a large r o l e i n the Queste, and that the p r i n c i p a l characters are knights very much concerned with th e i r knight-hood . 141 142 No si n g l e e x i s t i n g explanation, therefore, accounts adequately for the v a l i d i t y of the others: and a l l are unquestionably v a l i d . The unifying and integ r a t i n g theme that gives sense and coherence to the whole work must consequently l i e elsewhere. As was true of Perlesvaus, so too i n the Queste the p a r t i c u l a r nature and r o l e of knowledge and meaning are most h e l p f u l i n the discovery of a basic theme. Whereas i n the former work, however, knowledge was of a highly unusual kind, i n the l a t t e r i t i s u t t e r l y banal, and i s , i n f a c t , of l i t t l e i n t e r e s t i n i t s e l f . Notwithstanding the contrary opinion of one c r i t i c , the know-ledge revealed to p a r t i c i p a n t s and to the reader i n the course of the Queste i s of secondary importance. What i s of primary importance i s i t s r e v e l a t i o n : r e v e l a t i o n does not r e a l l y take place to d i s c l o s e meaning; rather, meaning ex i s t s to be revealed. The purpose of r e v e l a t i o n i s thus to be found, not i n i t s con-tents, but i n i t s r e c i p i e n t . Revelation occurs to single out c e r t a i n predestined i n d i v i d u a l s , who are chosen both f o r a moral reason and for a moral purpose, that i s to say because of the goodness that i s i n them and for the sake of the greater goodness that grace i s to produce in-.them. The f i n a l product of t h i s process, however, i s not merely holiness, but holy knighthood. Certain pure and righteous i n d i v i d u a l s are chosen, and are then made h o l i e r s t i l l by grace, i n order that they may l i v e a meaningful l i f e as knights i n an age when the older values that formerly supported c h i v a l r y have no further power or v a l i d i t y . That, i n b r i e f e s t resume, i s the thesis to be argued at greater length and i n d e t a i l i n the course of t h i s chapter. The u n i f y i n g , i n t e g r a t i n g theme of the Queste involves elements of moral struggle and growth, of r e v e l a t i o n and enlightenment, and of knighthood, as c r i t i c s , 143 including the author himself, have r i g h t l y pointed out. That theme i s holy, or even sacramental, knighthood, a renewed knighthood i n a new age, practised i n many of the old ways, but with an e n t i r e l y new s p i r i t u a l b a s i s , founded on the production of holiness through grace and moral struggle i n c e r t a i n predestined knights chosen by a process of r e v e l a t i o n . * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The C r i t i c s ' Interpretations The d i v e r s i t y of c r i t i c a l opinion of the meaning of the Queste  del Saint Graal can be organized i n four basic streams, of which three agree i n emphasizing r e l i g i o n , two of which coincide further i n con-centrating on the moral side of r e l i g i o n . Schematically the four i n t e r -p r e t a t i v e tendencies may be c l a s s i f i e d as follows: 1. The Queste i s about the i n d i v i d u a l ' s moral struggle against e v i l , p r i n c i p a l l y against l u s t . 2. I t i s about the working of grace within the i n d i v i d u a l , leading to s a n c t i t y . 3. I t i s about enlightenment through the infused knowledge of God. 4. The Queste i s about knighthood. The foremost champion of the f i r s t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s Albert 2 Pauphilet, who sees the Queste as more a book of e d i f i c a t i o n than a romance properly speaking. I t i s e s s e n t i a l l y s p i r i t u a l , r e l i g i o u s , even e c c l e s i a s t i c a l . The t r a d i t i o n a l world of c h i v a l r y and of courtly love, with a l l the values that accompany i t , has disappeared almost e n t i r e l y . Love s t o r i e s and r e l a t i o n s h i p s have no part i n the p l o t , except as i n c i -dents out of the past to be r e c a l l e d and repented of. B e a u t i f u l women 144 hardly appear except as sinners or penitents, or as temptresses who are as often as not incarnations of the d e v i l himself. Chivalry hardly survives any better than love. Gawain i s the only knight to r e t a i n a c l a s s i c knightly character and code of conduct, and he blunders constantly, sometimes comically, sometimes with t r a g i c b r u t a l i t y . The r e a l heroes, though knights, f i g h t l e s s than i n any other romance, and k i l l one another more r a r e l y s t i l l . Even the G r a i l i t s e l f i s further s p i r i t u a l i z e d and becomes more of a l i t u r g i c a l v essel than elsewhere: i t i s found i n places of worship, i t s approach i s announced by c l e r i c s , i t appears surrounded by heavenly beings, and i t becomes 3 progressively more c l o s e l y associated with the c h a l i c e of the Mass. The s p i r i t u a l i z i n g of the G r a i l as object i s matched by a s i m i l a r transformation of the quest as event. The questing knights are not i n t e r -4 ested i n becoming the G r a i l King. They do not even seek to l i b e r a t e the G r a i l by conquest, as happens i n Perlesvaus. They want to see the G r a i l more openly than they have heretofore. They want to know the truth of i t . Their goal i s to see and understand, not to triumph or to possess."' Their story i s also t o l d i n terms not only s p i r i t u a l but e c c l e s i a s t i c a l , i n images and symbols derived ultimately from the Scriptures, but through the t r a d i t i o n a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of those S c r i p -tures handed down by the Fathers of the Church. For the author of the Queste l i f e i s C h r i s t i a n l i f e , and even Church l i f e . L i f e i s also e s s e n t i a l l y moral, moreover. I t i s a struggle against e v i l . The concept of the C h r i s t i a n l i f e presented i n the Queste includes a few matters of doctrine and p o l i c y , 7 but i t a t t r i b u t e s pride of place to the struggle within the i n d i v i d u a l between grace and tempta-t i o n . The l i f e of the f i r s t i s summed up i n the quality—more moral 145 than p h y s i c a l — o f v i r g i n i t y . The second i s e s s e n t i a l l y reducible to g l u s t . Between t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and the second—the Queste i s about the working of grace within the i n d i v i d u a l , leading to s a n c t i t y — t h e r e are obvious points of contact, even i n d e t a i l . Etienne Gilson, the t y p i c a l exponent of t h i s second view, would agree even on the paramount 9 importance of l u s t and v i r g i n i t y , and on the p r a c t i c a l course that the Queste proposes f o r the C h r i s t i a n to follow through l i f e . Like Pauphilet, he sees the heart of C h r i s t i a n p r a c t i c e i n the Queste as consisting i n the performance of sui t a b l e and regular acts of devotion, e s p e c i a l l y the frequent confession of s i n s . ^ ^ In fundamental viewpoint, however, there i s a r e a l d i f f e r e n c e between these two i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s : a di f f e r e n c e between the negative and the p o s i t i v e , between remaining and becoming, between resistance and growth. I t i s probably best i l l u s t r a t e d i n the analysis of ch a r a c t e r i z -a t i o n . Both views locate the prime motivating force of behaviour i n something other than the actual character or personality of i n d i v i d u a l s , but they disagree on what replaces i t . For Pauphilet people are charac-te r i z e d by t h e i r degree of attachment to or detachment from the world of the material and the f l e s h l y , which i s ultimately the world of l u s t and of the tempter. This p r i n c i p l e i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n the contrasting careers of Gawain and Lancelot. Gawain retains the courage, generosity and knightly prowess t r a d i t i o n a l l y associated with h i s name, but th i s has l i t t l e e f f e c t on the course of h i s l i f e . He blunders repeatedly from crime to crime because he remains attached to the things of the world and the f l e s h , and cannot make a good confession. Lancelot, on the other hand, declines i n prowess as the p l o t unfolds, yet the course 146 of h i s l i f e i s not determined by t h i s external development, b u t — a s with Gawain—by the r e s u l t s of h i s struggle to overcome temptation and to escape attachment to the f l e s h . He repents of h i s l i a i s o n with Guenevere, makes h i s confession, does penance, and despite some l i n g e r i n g imper-fections that prevent him from seeing the G r a i l as openly as Perceval and Galahad, he i s granted a far more intimate v i s i o n than Gawain. Pauphilet's p r i n c i p l e of attachment/detachment i s also seen at work i n other characters. Bohort does long and laborious penance for his s i n , and thus atta i n s a c e r t a i n l e v e l of s a n c t i t y proportionate to the sins and the repentance, not to h i s personal character or t a l e n t s . Perceval also remains as he i s pictured t r a d i t i o n a l l y — i m p e t u o u s , impru-dent and rather incompetent—but i s l e d by h i s very naivety to put no store i n whatever talents he may have, but to place absolute trus t i n God and to remain almost wholly oblivious of the world around him. He thus stands far higher on the scale of resistance and detachment than on any scale of personality t r a i t s , and h i s reward i s commensurate: he out-ranks a l l but Galahad himself. In Gilson's view, however, the major characters are seen i n r e l a t i o n not to a world conceived as a locus of e v i l and a source of temptation, but to grace. They are distinguished from one another, and t h e i r fate i s determined, by t h e i r varying responses to the movements of grace. Although there i s much i n the p l o t that might be seen as a struggle, the questing knights are a c t u a l l y being drawn toward the domain of p u r i t y by God's grace rather than by t h e i r own exertions. They may combat e v i l adversaries i n tournament or b a t t l e , and they may do penance and make s a t i s f a c t i o n for s i n , but they do not thereby a t t a i n a p a r t i c u l a r moral state any more than they conquer the G r a i l . 147 They are drawn to a transforming v i s i o n , to the u n v e i l i n g of the secrets of God, and they perceive that v i s i o n and are affected by i t with vary-ing i n t e n s i t y and i n d i f f e r e n t modes according to the e f f e c t that God's grace has been able to have on them. Their adventures are adventures of grace, and the outcome of each i s determined by and representative of some response to grace: i t i s neglected, l o s t or regained; i t i s preserved and grows; i t leaves the hero i n a new p o s i t i o n somewhere between the two poles of p u r i t y and l u s t , between the e c s t a t i c v i s i o n and the clutches of the tempter. That p o s i t i o n i s attained by the a t t r a c t i o n of grace, however, more than by resistance to temptation, and that p o s i t i o n f i x e s the s p i r i t u a l worth of the i n d i v i d u a l . Gilson's analysis of the Queste i s thus a p a r t i c u l a r type of moral i n t e r p r e t a t i o n : the work describes the workings of grace and the path to s a n c t i t y . I t may often seem to be about the a c q u i s i t i o n of know-ledge, and the questers may profess a desire to see the G r a i l more open-l y , but a l l the t a l k of knowledge i s r e a l l y about the a f f e c t i v e side of l i f e , and i n seeking to see and to know, the knights are a c t u a l l y 12 attempting to love and be transformed by grace. The adventures are moral, therefore, though they belong to a morality of growth and trans-formation, not to one of resistance and detachment. Gilson i s joined i n championing t h i s second i n t e r p r e t a t i o n by H. J . B. Gray, who perceives p a r a l l e l s between the Queste and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux's doctrine of grace, i n the l i g h t of which he 13 examines the question of Lancelot's conversion. Lancelot i s i n i t i a l l y moved to repentance by a voice that t e l l s him he i s unworthy to enter the place where the G r a i l i s . His tears, curses and lamentations place him i n the r e q u i s i t e preliminary condition 148 for r e c eiving grace. This i s the i n i t i a l consent of the w i l l to the 14 f i r s t movements of grace, leading to repentance. Lancelot then makes his confession, i n conformity with Bernard's doctrine that holds out hope to those i n c l i n e d to weakness of the f l e s h provided that they con-fess t h e i r sins.''""' Grace continues to work, and Lancelot to cooperate with i t according to Saint Bernard's p r i n c i p l e s . 16 Bernard maintains further that one who has made h i s confession and received the consequent grace needs a period of humiliation to p u r i f y him. This i s exactly what happens to Lancelot, who i s upbraided for h i s past sins by a mere youth, and accepts the reproaches with humility. At the same time the f i r s t perceptible f r u i t s of the working of grace begin to appear: Lancelot confesses that he finds h i s new l i f e happier than his o l d : he i s delivered from unhappiness as well as from s i n . The climax of Lancelot's conversion—the i n i t i a l v i s i o n s that he enjoys at th i s point, then the twenty-four days of ecstasy i n the G r a i l chamber that mark the high-point of h i s deliverance from s i n and m i s e r y — f i t s equally into Bernard's schema."'"7 The t h i r d l i n e of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Queste accepts the language of cognition i n the romance at face value. The a l l u s i o n s to seeihg.j- learning and knowing are not symbolic representations of funda-mentally a f f e c t i v e states, as Saint Bernard or the proponents of the second i n t e r p r e t a t i o n would have i t . They r e a l l y do r e f e r to cognitive processes, and the Queste i s e s s e n t i a l l y about enlightenment through the infused knowledge of God. 18 Myrrha Lot-Borodine i s the leading exponent of t h i s view. She i s convinced that something more i s being sought and something more hap-pening i n the quest than the simple movement of grace i n s p i r i n g growth 149 through various a f f e c t i v e states. The zeal with which the knights pursue t h e i r search for what appears to be knowledge i s d i f f i c u l t to r e c o n c i l e with the notion that t h e i r f i n a l goal i s only a form of love. The object of t h e i r search i s , a f t e r a l l , i n no way hidden from them. They a l l know that i t resides at Corbenic and appears there r e g u l a r l y . If they merely wish to gaze upon i t and be dissolved i n the divine essence under i t s influence or to have i t s power protect them from the tempter, they have only to go to Corbenic and stare at i t . This, how-ever, i s not what they do at a l l . Rather, they wander apparently aim-l e s s l y f o r long periods of time from adventure to adventure, protesting a l l the while t h e i r desire to look, to contemplate, to see openly, and to know. They give every evidence of wanting to be enlightened, to le a r n something. Most of them, moreover, do acquire some knowledge of how to be better C h r i s t i a n s . To be sure, not a l l the learning involved i s a straightforward 19 d i d a c t i c process. There i s another and more important form of en-l i g h t e n m e n t — i n t u i t i v e knowledge illuminated by divine wisdom—which i s indeed very close to love. Yet even i t i s r e a l knowledge; s p e c i a l charism though i t may be, i t i s not j u s t an a f f e c t i v e state i n cogni-t i o n a l guise. Galahad's progressive i l l u m i n a t i o n i n three s t a g e s — a t Corbenic, on board the ship of Solomon, and i n the c e l e s t i a l Jerusalem— i s a good example of t h i s l a t t e r process, and i t involves actual l e a r n -o ing at each stage. Galahad gains i n s i g h t into s p e c i f i c mysteries, and he sees and understands more than he did before, a l b e i t i n a mystic sense d i f f e r e n t from ordinary book-learning. Mme Lot-Borodine would associate the Queste more c l o s e l y with William of Saint Thierry than with Bernard. For William charity i s 150 created i n the soul by the work of the Holy S p i r i t transforming the w i l l , but also revealing the image of God implanted i n us at our c r e a t i o n . The love that we then experience for God i s an act of l i k e recognizing l i k e , and requires the r e v e l a t i o n of knowledge. This r e v e l a t i o n i s what Mme Lot-Borodine sees taking place i n the Queste allowing her to treat the enlightenment that occurs there, intimately bound up with love though i t i s , as nonetheless r e a l learning. The fourth l i n e of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Queste i s the most inde-pendent:, ' i t i s about knighthood. The foremost exponent of t h i s view-20 point, Jean Frappier, acknowledges that the G r a i l romances are a l l r e l i g i o u s i n the broad sense of the term—they a l l preach C h r i s t i a n f a i t h and morality to some degree—and that the Queste i s more r e l i g i o u s than most: i t could pass i n parts for a t r e a t i s e on the devout l i f e . Nevertheless, i t i s more than coincidence that the questers i n the G r a i l s t o r i e s are a l l knights. The mixture of r e l i g i o n and c h i v a l r y i s not unusual i n mediaeval l i t e r a t u r e , but i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that even—and perhaps e s p e c i a l l y — i n the most theologized of the romances r e l i g i o n i s exalted i n terms of c h i v a l r y and for the purpose of en-hancing the status of the knightly c l a s s . The meeting point of r e l i g i o n and c h i v a l r y and the common bond un i t i n g a l l the various G r a i l quests i s e u c h a r i s t i c communion and the e u c h a r i s t i c s p i r i t . Seen from a r e l i g i o u s point of view the questers are being drawn together into an e c s t a t i c communion i n and with God. Seen as knights they are above a l l companions, again i n a sort of communion, standing each on an equal footing and excluding from t h e i r midst the members of a l l other classes of s o c i e t y . On the one hand there 21 are no merchants, peasants or government o f f i c i a l s on the quests; nor 151 are there any dukes, e a r l s , barons or other peers of s p e c i f i c rank 22 e i t h e r . The questers are a l l knights and they are only knights. They form a brotherhood which stands p a r a l l e l to and i s interconnected with the e u c h a r i s t i c communion that the G r a i l experience establishes among them. Frappier has a s o c i o l o g i c a l explanation to o f f e r i n support of his theory. The G r a i l l i t e r a t u r e , he believes, became popular at a time of s o c i a l c r i s i s . A large portion of the n o b i l i t y was l o s i n g i t s r e a l m i l i t a r y value, and hence much of i t s p o l i t i c a l power and influence. The feudal hierarchy was becoming more important i n the r e a l world, and authority was becoming concentrated i n i t s upper echelons. The defence offered by the victims of t h i s process was i n large measure moral and symbolic: they wanted to create a myth for themselves, an i d e a l i z e d v i s i o n of a knighthood performing high and noble feats, a knighthood i n which they would stand as brothers and equals i n a way that they no longer could i n r e a l l i f e . Such aspirations lead d i r e c t l y to a blending of chivalrous and r e l i g i o u s motifs, since they treat knighthood as e s s e n t i a l l y a mystical i d e a l . Hence such notions as messianic c h i v a l r y , rooted i n b i b l i c a l times and providing access to the mysteries of the f a i t h and the knowledge of God. Hence, too, c h a r a c t e r s — l i k e Perceval's uncle, the holy hermit i n Chretien de Troyes's Conte del Graal—who r e t i r e from knighthood into the e r e m i t i c a l l i f e without r e a l l y abandoning c h i v a l r y , passing from the active to the contemplative state, from the p r a c t i c a l to the i d e a l , but remaining part of the communion or brother-hood for a l l that, and taking on the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of passing on i t s p r i n c i p l e s and v i s i o n to a new generation. Instead of p r a c t i s i n g a c r a f t they now contemplate and communicate a mystery, but the mystery i s 152 c h i v a l r y , the same r e a l i t y viewed under a d i f f e r e n t aspect. In t h i s they are representative, for Frappier, of t h e i r whole c l a s s : i n the heavenly knighthood of the G r a i l s t o r i e s knighthood retains i t s inner c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a f t e r the death of i t s external form i n the material world. The o r i e n t a t i o n of mind c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Queste cannot be extracted d i r e c t l y from any of these l i n e s of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Each leaves enough questions unanswered to preclude i t s being chosen as the d e f i n i -t i v e explanation of the guiding ideas underlying the romance. I f , for example, the Queste i s e s s e n t i a l l y a work of e d i f i c a t i o n promoting C h r i s t i a n f a i t h and morality, then why i s so much assumed, and so l i t t l e a c t u a l l y said about grace, free w i l l , conversion and other basic C h r i s t -23 ian doctrines? Surely such concepts ought to enjoy pride of place i n a work of e d i f i c a t i o n . Furthermore, whether the Queste i s about r e s i s -tance to e v i l or growth i n grace, why i s such prominence given to knights and t h e i r adventures? I t may be true that almost nothing i s retained of the chivalrous world that i s not given a new and s p i r i t u a l meaning, but a great deal i s nonetheless retained. The adventure story, remythologized though i t may be, s t i l l occupies a larger place i n the work as a whole 24 than does the remythologizing. I f the e s s e n t i a l theme of the Queste i s s p i r i t u a l enlightenment, then the question of r e t a i n i n g so much knightly adventure becomes e s p e c i a l l y cogent: can a l l those b a t t l e s with the tempter and h i s a l l i e s — w h i c h the characters i n the text seem to take so s e r i o u s l y — r e a l l y only be present to introduce v i r t u a l ser-mons? The fourth school of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n can not be faulted for neglecting the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the a c t i o n to concentrate excl u s i v e l y 153 on the expository passages, but Frappier's views also i n v i t e questions. If the G r a i l romances are a reaction to the decline of ordinary knights r e l a t i v e to the higher feudal orders, and i f they are written to exalt a knightly brotherhood of equals, then why are they g e n e r a l l y — a n d the Queste more than most—so r e s o l u t e l y e l i t i s t ? Though d i s t i n g u i s h i n g t i t l e s of rank may be missing, and a l l may s i t as equals at the Round Table, from the moment the knights r i s e to go questing a ruthless pro-cess of e l e c t i o n and d i s t i n c t i o n begins. Hector and Galahad, for example, do not for one minute stand on the same footing. Frappier's theories are also open to question on e x t r i n s i c grounds: do the facts sustain h i s hypothesis of a r e a l c r i s i s i n the s o c i a l status of knights of lower rank? Granted that the trend i n the evolution of feudal society was toward a concentration of power i n the upper echelons, was t h i s process marked enough or rapid enough i n the early thirteenth century to constitute a c r i s i s or to i n s p i r e a search for symbolic sub-25 s t i t u t e s for p o l i t i c a l authority and economic influence? I d e n t i f y i n g the way of thinking about l i f e that i s c h a r a c t e r i s -t i c of t h i s romance cannot be an act of choice, therefore. The strengths and weaknesses of the various c r i t i c a l views of the work must be assessed and a synthesis formed. Before any such synthesis i s attempted, how-ever, one further c r i t i c not included i n the schema of four basic approaches needs to be considered, namely the author of the Queste himself. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 154 The Author's Interpretation The Queste del Saint Graal i s far more generously furnished with hermit exegetes even than Perlesvaus. They provide an a u t h o r i t a t i v e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the more important adventures and of the meaning of l i f e as perceived through them. They admonish and exhort i n d i v i d u a l knights. They preach short sermons. They provide background i n f o r -mation. No one of these e r e m i t i c a l discourses i s capable of expressing the author's understanding of what his romance means, but taken together they develop patterns of views and ideas from which a comprehensive i n t e r p r e t a t i o n can be extracted. Among the patterns of thought to emerge, i n the very broadest sense, i s a tendency toward a moral understanding of the romance, i n some sense, and away from notions of enlightenment. Insight into the mysteries of God's being i s promised to the questing knights before they set out: Quar ceste queste nest mie queste de terrienes choses ains d o i t estre l i ecerquemens] des grans secres [&] des priuautes nostre seignor que l i haus maistres moustrera apertement a l boin eure cheualier q u i l a esleu a estre son seriant entre les autres cheualiers t e r r i e n s a qui i l moustera l e s grans merueilles del saint g r a a l . & l i fera veoir ce que cuer mortels ne p o r o i t penser . ne langue de hom t e r r i e n d i r e . - , ZD The promise of i n s i g h t into p r i v a t e secrets and into matters beyond the power of man to think or speak i s f u l f i l l e d i n v i s i o n s and mystical adventures i n the course of the p l o t , but such revelations are r a r e l y dwelt upon i n the explanations offered by the hermits. Where i n c i -dents are interpreted as revelatory of God's a f f a i r s , the emphasis i s more commonly l a i d upon his deeds and h i s ways than on the mysteries of h i s inner being. This i s c e r t a i n l y the tendency i n the explanation 155 offered Bohort of the v i s i o n of the pe l i c a n feeding i t s young: . . . i l oisiaus senefie nostre creator qui forma lome a sa samblance. & quant i l fu boutes fors de paradis par son mesfait i l v i n t en terre ou i l troua l a mort. Car de v i e n i auoit i l point. . . . L i pouc[h]in senefient lumain lignage qui ert [adont] s i perdus q u i l a l o i e n t t u i t en ynfer a u [ s ] s i bien l i boin comme l i maluais . . . . Quant l i f i e x dieu v i t ce s i monta en lar b r e . ce fu en l a c r o i s & fu ferus del glaiue desous l a p o i t r i n e e l coste destre s i que l i sans en i s s i . Et del sane receurent v i e l i pouchin . [Ce sont l i v r a i c r e s t i j e n ] c i l qui ses oeures orent f a i t e s . Car i l l e s osta d i n f e r ou toute mors e s t o i t & est encore sans point de v i e . Et sera tous i o r s tant comme diex d u r e r a ^ y Similar, too, i s the explanation offered Galahad, Perceval and Bohort of t h e i r v i s i o n of the white stag transformed into a man and the four l i o n s with him changed into the four l i v i n g creatures: Car en ce q u i l mua l e cherf en home c e l e s t i e l [II nest mie hom carnel ne mortel] . vous moustra i l l a veniance q u i l f i s t en l a c r o i s l a ou i l fu couers de couerture t e r r i e n e . Car i l fu couers de char mortel & venqui en morant l a mort & ramena nostre v i e . Et bien d o i t estre s e n e f i j e s par l e c e r f . Car tot a u [ s ] s i comme l i cers [quant i l est uius] se r a i o i g n i s t en l a i s s a n t son c u i r & son p o i l en pa r t i e . tot a u [ s ] s i [se] r e i o i g n i s t nostre s i r e s & reuint de mort a v i e quant i l l a i s s a l e cu i r t e r r i e n . Ce fu l a char mortel q u i l auoit prinse e l ventre de l a beneoite virgene . Et por ce quen l a benoite virgene not onques point de pec[h]ie t e r r i e n . s i aparut i l en guise de cerf blanc sans t a c h e . O D There are suggestions i n th i s explanation of doctrines concerning the re l a t i o n s h i p of the divine and the human nature i n C h r i s t and the immaculate conception of the Blessed V i r g i n Mary, but they are more i n the nature of textbook theology than of mystical i n s i g h t , and they are i n any case i n c i d e n t a l to the primary emphasis on what God i s doing i n Ch r i s t : taking f l e s h and exacting h i s vengeance on s i n and death. Where the author chooses to h i g h l i g h t an aspect of God, then, 156 i n the explanations offered by his hermit exegetes, the emphasis tends rather to be placed on doing rather than on being, and on the external 29 and perceptible rather than on the inner and secret. Frequently, moreover, there i s a progressive development within the explanations themselves, moving from God's ways and actions to the ways and deeds of human beings. A movement of t h i s sort i s noticeable even i n the exposition offered to Bohort a f t e r he has seen the pe l i c a n s a c r i f i c e i t s e l f for i t s young. Both Bohort's v i s i o n and the hermit's explanation are more complex than the p a r t i a l excerpt c i t e d above. The v i s i o n also includes a scene i n which Bohort fought on behalf of a lady against a r i v a l , and another i n which he saw a rotten tree trunk and two flowers, repre-senting the s p i r i t u a l meaning of the incident i n which he chose to defend a maiden i n d i s t r e s s instead of aiding L i o n e l . Both scenes are explained, and both explanations are r e s o l u t e l y moral: they are addressed to the value of human acts. In the f i r s t the v i r t u e of l o y a l t y to the Church i s e x t o l l e d : Car par l a dame entendons nos sainte e g l i s e qui t i e n t sainte c r e s t i e n t e en boine f o i & en dr o i t e creance qui est l e d r o i t yretage de ihesu c r i s t . . . . Par lau t r e dame qui desiretee en e s t o i t [& l e gu e r r o i o i t ] entent on l a v i e l l e loy . . . . Quant l a ione dame vous ot contee sa rais o n de la u t r e dame qui l a gue r r o i o i t . vous empreistes l a b a t a i l l e s i comme vos deustes. Car vous estes cheualiers ihesu c r i s t par qu[o]i vous estes a d r o i t tenus de desfendre sainte eglyse.^Q The second emphasizes rather the basic personal v i r t u e of pu r i t y : Le fust sans force & sans vertu senefie l y o n e l ton fr e r e qui na en s o i nule vertu de nostre signor qui en estant l e tiegne. l a poureture senefie l a grant plente des pechies q i l a en s o i amonchelees de i o r en i o r . . . . Par les . i j . f l o r s qui estoient a destre dois tu entendre . i j . virges . 157 s i en est l i cheualiers que vos naurastes l i vns & l a u t r e l a pucele que vous rescousistes . . . . Mais l i preudons l e s departoit cest a d i r e que nostre s i r e s ne v o l o i t mie que l o r biautes & l o r blanchors fussent ensi perdue & i l vous i amena s i que vous l e s departistes & sauuastes l o r blanchor . . . . Garde se tu vois t e i l e auenture auenir que tu ne l a i s s e s mie l e s f l o r s [perir] por l e fust p o r r i secorre.^-^ As interpreted by the author through h i s hermit exegete, therefore, these scenes progress from the work of C h r i s t — i n the ac t i o n of the pe l i c a n — t h r o u g h the l i f e of h i s C h u r c h — i n the struggle between the two l a d i e s — t o the actions and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of the i n d i v i d u a l follower of C h r i s t — i n the v i s i o n of flowers and rotten trunk. The emphasis i s placed on action throughout the explanations, and the thrust of the development from one element to the next leads to a cl i m a c t i c message of personal moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . The same pattern of evolution i s d i s c e r n i b l e i n other explanations as w e l l . Very early i n the quest Melias comes to a fork i n the road he i s following, disregards a posted warning, and takes the left-hand path instead of the r i g h t . In the subsequent explanation i t i s made cl e a r that he should have trusted the sign and taken the r i g h t -hand way, because i t was the sign of the cross, pointing to the way of 32 Jesus C h r i s t , which i s compassion. Divine compassion, the cross and the person of Jesus are a l l r e l a t e d intimately to the being and ways of God, but they are not the essence of the explanation: although they are present as objects of choice, the whole emphasis i s placed not on them, but on the process of choosing, which i s narrated i n d e t a i l . . . . quant tu veis l e b r i e f tu tesmerueillas que ce pooit estre . & maintenat te f e r i l i anemis dun de ses dars & ses tu de c o i . dun de ses dars dorguel. Car tu te pensas que tu en i s t r o i e s par ta proece . & ensi fus tu decheus par entendement . Car l i e s c r i s p a r l o i t de l a cheualerie celestiene & tu entendis de l a seculer. par c o i tu entras en orguel . & por ce s t u i orguel chais tu en pechie mortel . & quant tu fus p a r t i s de galaad l i diables qui tauoit troue [ f o i b l e ] se mist en t o i & l i sambla que poi en auoit encore f a i t se i l ne te f a i s o i t encore chaoir en . j . autre pechie . s i que de pec[h]ie a pechie te mist en enfer Whether t r u s t i n God or surrender to the d e v i l i s being described, the author's mouthpiece c l e a r l y understands the incident as a story about how a human being responds to the i n v i t a t i o n of divine grace and to the temptations of the d e v i l . Even i n scenes of an obviously supernatural character with a marked aura of mystery the hermits tend to draw the reader's a t t e n t i o n toward the question of human behaviour. The G r a i l miracle that Lancelot witnesses i n a dil a p i d a t e d chapel i s of th i s type: he sees a s i c k knight c a r r i e d i n on a l i t t e r and l a i d down, whereupon a s i l v e r candela-brum moves unsupported across the room, followed by the Holy G r a i l i t s e l f , i n the form i n which Lancelot saw i t previously at Corbenic. He notes the a r r i v a l and departure of the mysterious objects, witnesses the healing of the s i c k knight through prayer and the G r a i l ' s touch, but cannot make any movement or response to the experience. In consequence h i s h e l -met, sword and s h i e l d are taken from him and given to the healed knight, 34 who w i l l make better use of them. Within the incident i t s e l f Lancelot i s passive and remains on the periphery, dismissed even by the healed knight as probably some unconfessed sinner, and not given another thought. In the explanation, however, he i s the centre of attention, and h i s moral state i s discussed at great length. The hermit explains the nature of Lancelot's s i n , which i s e s s e n t i a l l y a combination of d i s l o y a l t y and ingr a t i t u d e . God 159 has given him such great g i f t s , he must not misuse them: ". . • s i ne serues mie d e l grant don q u i l vous a done son anemi ce est l e d i a b l e . Car s i diex vous a este plus larges que as autres & ore vous perdoit . 35 moult vous en deuroit on blasmer." Yet t h i s i s p r e c i s e l y what Lancelot has done: "Car s i tost com i l tot paie bien & richement tu l e l a i [ s ] s a s pour [aler] s e r u i r c e l u i qui tos i o r s l a u o i t guerroie . ce ne f e i s t nus hom a mon essiant q u i l eust a u [ s ] s i bien paie comme i l te 36 paia." The hermit therefore sets out for him what he must do to return to God's favour: he must cry out for mercy, which God w i l l give, and he must change h i s l i f e : . . . se vous de cest large don q u i l vous a f a i t e s t i e s ses anemis . sacies q u i l vous tornera a noient en poi de tans se vous ne l i c r i e s merci en confession v r a i e & en repentance de cuer & en amendement de v i e . Et i e vous d i uraiement se vous en t e l maniere l i c r i e s merci i l est tant [dous &] deboinaires & tant aime l e relieuement del pecheor . s i vous releuera plus f o r t & plus uiguereus . . . .^y True confession of sin°is most important, and the hermit encourages Lancelot to i t : ". . . l i preudons lamoneste toute[s] uoi[e]s de i e h i r son pec[h]ie & del l a i [ s ] s i e r del tot . Car autrement est i l honis s i l 38 nel f a i t . & l i promet l a v i e pardurable por l e i e h i r . " The power of confession and penance would be l o s t however without r e a l amendment of l i f e : A u [ s ] s i s e r o i t perdue en vous l a paine [del chastiement que l e n i mettroit] se vous ne l e receues de boin cuer & metes a oeure . . . . Dont vous requier i e f a i t l i preudons que vous me creantes que iamais ne mesferes a vostre creator en f a i s a n t pechie mortel ne de l a roine ne dautre dame [ne] de chose dont i l se doie corecier . . . .^g There i s no question but that t h i s explanation constitutes a developed doctrine of the nature of s i n and of the process of repentance 160 and forgiveness. I t has far less to do with the unique experience that Lancelot has had than with the ordinary experience common to a l l men and women. Lancelot's adventures fi g u r e i n i t , and so do his v i s i o n s , and the two interpenetrate, but they are united to one another and ultimately f i n d t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e i n a t h i r d r e a l i t y , which i s the state of Lancelot's heart. V i s i o n and adventure, inward r e a l i t y and outward are given a common meaning which i s moral, rooted i n concepts of s i n and righteousness, repentance and forgiveness. This p a r t i c u l a r experience i s p r i m a r i l y a v i s i o n , but even when the character of the incident i s d i f f e r e n t , when, for instance, the knights are engaged i n feats of prowess, the author applies the same p r i n c i p l e s of the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of outer and inner r e a l i t i e s and the discovery of meaning i n moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and growth to hi s explana-t i o n . This i s c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e d i n adventures b e f a l l i n g both Lancelot and Perceval. Lancelot becomes involved i n a tournament matching the white knights of E l i e z e r against the black knights of Argustes, taking the side of the blacks, who appear to deserve h i s support as being the 40 underdogs. Despite h i s greatest e f f o r t s he makes no progress, and i s eventually overwhelmed by the i r r e s i s t i b l e white forces. His lengthy adventure i s followed by a very b r i e f dream, which already has a strongly moral character: Quant i l fu endormis s i l i fu maintenant auis que de deuers l e c i e l venoit vns hons qui bien resambloit ;' preudom . & venoit [aussi comme courouchies] vers l u i s i l i d i s t . he hons de male f o i & de poure creance porcoi est ta volentes s i legierement changie vers ton anemi mortel . se tu ne ten gardes i l te fera c h a i o [ i ] r e l parfont du fu d e n f e r . ^ The recluse who explains both adventure and dream draws them together to expound the moral s i g n i f i c a n c e of the whole quest of the Holy G r a i l . 161 Lancelot's enlistment among the black knights s i g n i f i e d h i s departure on the quest i n s i n , h i s defeat and capture betokened hi s acknowledgment of h i s s i n f u l n e s s , h i s treatment at the hands of h i s captors represented 42 the contribution of the holy men to h i s i n c i p i e n t conversion. Once m o r e — i n t h i s instance through a holy woman—the author makes cl e a r that he sees the meaning of adventures, v i s i o n s , and the quest as a whole i n the p u r s u i t — o r q u e s t — o f holiness. Perceval's adventure occurs during h i s sojourn on a rocky i s l a n d 43 i n the sea. He comes upon a serpent carrying o f f a l i o n cub, and chooses to f i g h t on the cub's side, k i l l i n g the serpent. In a subse-44 quent v i s i o n a young woman mounted on a l i o n warns him to be ready to f i g h t the champion of the world, and an older woman on a serpent harangues him for k i l l i n g the serpent that she claims to have been hers. The good man who i n t e r p r e t s the scene demonstrates the i n t e r -penetration of external and i n t e r n a l r e a l i t y , of the two women i n the v i s i o n with h i s own adventures, with h i s inner s p i r i t u a l h i s t o r y i n 45 r e l a t i o n to God and the d e v i l , and with the h i s t o r y of C h r i s t ' s church. In s a l v a t i o n h i s t o r y both women have symbolic meanings: "Cele qui sor l e l i o n e s t o i t montee senefie l a nouele loy . . . . cele dame s i est f o i s & esperance & creance & baptesme . cele dame est l a piere dure & feme sor c o i ihesu c r i s t [dist] q u i l fermeroit sainte e g l i s e . . . . cele dame que tu v e i s en ton soigne chevauchier sor l e serpent 46 senefie l a v i e l l e l o i . " They have also played a r o l e i n Perceval's adventures. He has, for instance, already k i l l e d two serpents belonging to the elder woman: "ele ne se p l a i n t pas de eel serpent que tu ocheis [h]ier . ains d i s t de e e l serpent que tu ocheis lequel tu vins chevauchant c e s t o i t l i anemis qui tenportoit vers l i a u e quant 162 47 tu f e i s l e signe de l a c r o i s sor t o i quant tu venis en ceste roche." The p r i n c i p a l i n t e r e s t of both women, however, i s i n his inner s p i r i t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p to God. The elder woman once held h i s s p i r i t u a l a l l e g i a n c e , subsequently l o s t i t , and now seeks to regain i t : ele [te] d i s t que aucune f o i s lauoies tu este ains que tu recheusse[s] lomage de ton seignor . a ceste chose as tu hui [moult] pense & s i l e deus[ses] tu bien sauoir . Car sans f a i l l e anchois que tu eusses recheu baptesme ne creance estoies tu de l a subiection a lanemi..„ HO Both Lancelot's experience and Perceval's involve the three elements of adventure, v i s i o n and exposition of meaning. In both cases the exposition does two things: i t demonstrates the interpenetration of the external-material and the i n n e r - s p i r i t u a l elements, with clear p r i o r i t y given to the inner and s p i r i t u a l , and i t a t t r i b u t e s to the ent i r e experience a s i g n i f i c a n c e that i s e s s e n t i a l l y m oral—the i n t e r n a l r e a l i t y consists i n nearness to or remoteness from God; the external r e a l i t y comprises either s i n f u l or virtuous actions. Inter-penetration of the external and i n t e r n a l worlds, the primacy of the inner l i f e and i t s b a s i c a l l y moral s i g n i f i c a n c e are three major elements i n the author's own i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the meaning of h i s romance. A further r e l a t e d element emerges from the conclusion of the good man's explanation and from i t s sequel: the experiences of the knights have not only a moral s i g n i f i c a n c e , but a moral purpose as w e l l . The point of a l l that the good man has to say to Perceval i s not h i s enlightenment but his betterment: "Or t a i deuise de lune dame & de lau t r e l a senefiance s i men vois car trop a i [ a i l l o u r s ] a f a i r e . Et tu remanras c h i & s i te souiegne de l a b a t a i l l e que tu as a f a i r e . Car se 163 49 tu [ i] es vencus tu a[u]ras ce quele tu promis." The importance of t h i s moral purpose i s emphasized by the obviously conscious placement of the f u l f i l l m e n t — a t l e a s t of one p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t — o f the warning and p r e d i c t i o n immediately a f t e r -ward. A maiden, who i s i n fa c t the d e v i l i n disguise, appears to Perceval on h i s rocky i s l a n d , presents h e r s e l f as h i s only means of escape, entices him with the pleasures of food, drink and sex, and arouses his p i t y by her account of the mistreatment she has received at the hands of her master.^'"' He very nearly f a l l s into the temptations, but f i n a l l y r e s i s t s and triumphs through the sign of the cross. This encounter i s then explained i n i t s turn, and i s thus framed by p a r a l l e l explanations s t r e s s i n g the interpenetration of worlds and the primacy of moral A 5 1 meanmg and purpose. The author of the Queste does not explain only the adventures that h i s heroes achieve and the v i s i o n s they enjoy. He also expounds the meaning of adventures that are unsuccessful, and of v i s i o n s that are not enjoyed or p r o f i t e d by. What happens to most of the other questers i s quite d i f f e r e n t from the course followed by Lancelot, Galahad, Bohort and Perceval. They take wrong turns, unwittingly commit crimes, l i n e up on the side of the evildoers i n b a t t l e , but most of a l l simply f a i l to f i n d adventures of any s o r t . They wander aimlessly for days and weeks, encountering no one except others of t h e i r own company searching as f r u i t l e s s l y as they are. Their f a i l u r e s , however, d i f f e r e n t though they be i n themselves from the fate of the four p r i n c i p a l heroes, are explained according to the same basic p r i n c i p l e s . Of the f a i l e d k n i g h t s — t h e vast majority of those who f i r s t set o f f on the quest—Hector and Gawain are by f a r the most prominent, 164 although t h e i r experience i s t y p i c a l of that of t h e i r fellows. Gawain rides from Pentecost to Saint Mary Magdalene's day without accomplishing anything except wearing out ten horses. Hector, i n the same period, en-counters only twenty of h i s own companions, a l l with the same t a l e of no adventure that he has to t e l l . They j o i n together, but without chang-ing t h e i r fate, unless i t be for the worse—they unwittingly k i l l Owein the Bastard, for example. Their systematic f a i l u r e i s explained i n two v i s i o n s — o n e appearing to each man—followed by explanation along f a m i l i a r l i n e s . Gawain i n h i s dream sees 150 b u l l s feeding at a hayrack. A l l but three of these are spotted; one i s mostly white, the l a s t two pure white. The l a s t three are t i e d by the neck. A l l the b u l l s set o f f i n search of r i c h e r pasture. Many perish i n the search, and a l l return t h i n and weak-ened only to f i n d no food and to be forced once again to leave the rack. 52 Only one of the white b u l l s i s among the returnees. The i n t e r p r e t a t i o n offered by Nascien the hermit i d e n t i f i e s the herd of b u l l s at the hayrack with the company of knights at the Round Table and t h e i r pursuit of r i c h e r pasture with the quest of the G r a i l . The quest i n turn i s presented as a s p i r i t u a l adventure i n which the 53 inner state of soul of the p a r t i c i p a n t s i s of paramount importance. The v i s i o n i s applied to the adventure that i s the quest, the quest i s linked to an inner morality of humility, patience and v i r g i n i t y , and the v i s i o n i s applied d i r e c t l y to the inner l i f e . There i s again i n t e r -penetration of what i s done and what i s seen, of the outer world and the inner, with moral values as the stable element constant i n both domains. Hector's v i s i o n i s even more d i r e c t l y moral. In i t he and 165 Lancelot r i d e o f f i n quest of something they know i n advance they won't f i n d . An old man drags Lancelot from h i s horse, s t r i p s him, re-dresses him i n a fringed coat and mounts him on a donkey. He then rides on, comes to a fountain which vanishes when he t r i e s to drink from i t , and f i n a l l y returns to h i s s t a r t i n g point. Hector rides on, i s refused entry to a r i c h man's house because he i s mounted, and then he too 54 sadly returns home. Nascien's explanation of t h i s v i s i o n emphasizes f i r s t the inner moral l i f e , focussing on Lancelot's f a l l away from h i s i n i t i a l p r i d e , h i s being stripped of h i s sins so that he recognizes h i s emptiness and longs to be f i l l e d with grace. The v i s i o n and i t s s p i r i t u a l meaning are then linked secondarily to Lancelot's future experiences, which are contrasted with the prospects of the unrepentant Hector. These and numerous other d i r e c t explanations of the meaning of adventures and v i s i o n s follow a consistent pattern that reveals some-thing of what'the author of the Queste must have understood h i s own story to mean. If i t were reduced to a sing l e sentence analogous to the capsule summaries applied to other c r i t i c a l views' of the work, i t would not correspond exactly to any of them, moral, d o c t r i n a l or chivalrous, though i t would c l e a r l y be closer to the moral i n t e r p r e -tations than to the others. The f a i r e s t such capsule summary would probably be something l i k e : the Queste i s about the sacramental character of human l i f e . The orthodox sacramental theology discussed i n chapter two finds expression i n the author's exposition of the meaning of the Queste. Sacraments are outward signs of inner, s p i r i t -ual grace; they operate outwardly as sign and inwardly as grace to e f f e c t that aspect of s a l v a t i o n appropriate to the occasion and to 166 the needs of the r e c i p i e n t . So, too, outward adventures i n the Queste s i g n i f y inner, s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t i e s . The explanations a t t r i b u t e to vi s i o n s the r o l e of sacramental sign, u n i t i n g the external r e a l i t y with the saving e f f e c t . And the ultimate e f f e c t i s sa l v a t i o n , or some aspect of s a l v a t i o n . The external adventure, i t s i n t e r n a l analogue, and t h e i r j o i n t moral s i g n i f i c a n c e correspond to the sacramental sign, the sign with i t s meaning, and the sacramental e f f e c t , or to sacramentum, res et sacramentum, and res tantum. I t i s not necessary, or even wise, to assume that the meaning of the Queste i s i d e n t i c a l with the meaning that i t s author a t t r i b u t e s to i t . As an int e r p r e t e r of h i s own creation he must take h i s place with other i n t e r p r e t e r s , who may well have seen things i n his work that he was not conscious of when he wrote. His views must form a s i g n i f i c a n t part of any attempt at assessment of judgments or harmoniz-atio n of trends i n i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , however. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The Nature of Explanation, Knowledge and Meaning i n the Queste A s i g n i f i c a n t source of i n s i g h t into the meaning of Perlesvaus was the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of p r e c i s e l y what was understood i n the work by meaning. A s i m i l a r inquiry into what passes for explanation and know-ledge i n the Queste i s l i k e l y to prove equally i l l u m i n a t i n g . The con-tent of the knowledge that the author conveys through his holy exegetes has been uncovered and set out systematically, but what of the nature of that knowledge? Just as the discovery that knowledge i n Perlesvaus con-s i s t s e s s e n t i a l l y i n the linkage of p a r t i c u l a r s revealed the patterns of thought underlying and shaping i t , so too consideration of what knowledge 167 i s i n the Queste should prove h e l p f u l i n assessing and developing the varying views of i t s meaning. As the customary scenario attendant upon v i r t u a l l y every explan-ati o n of meaning i n the romance makes apparent, knowledge i n the Queste i s e s s e n t i a l l y r e v e l a t i o n . That i s to say that i t i s not discovery, or l o g i c a l conclusion, or the data of experimentation. I t i s not to say, however, that i t i s n e c e s s a r i l y mystical i n character, that i t l i e s i n any way beyond the realm of ideas, propositions, opinions, facts and other categories that are the stock i n trade of our ordinary mental functions. Revelation of the unknown need not necessarily be of the unknowable, and i n the Queste i t c o n s i s t e n t l y i s not.^^ I l l u s t r a t i o n s of the eminently knowable character of what i s revealed i n the Queste are abundant. Consider once again the explana-tions offered Perceval on h i s rocky i s l a n d by the good man who a r r i v e s i n the white ship. La damoisele a qui tu as parle ce est l i anemis l i plus (haut] maistres denfer c i l qui a poeste sor tous l e s autres . . . . quant ele se v i t s i abaissie del haut siege & de l a grant hautece ou ele s o l o i t estre & ele fu mis en pardurables tenebres ele se porpensa quele g u e r r o i e r o i t c e l u i qui l a l a u o i t mis de quanque ele por o i t mais ele ne v e o i t pas de c o i . . . . c i s anemis qui che l i ot c o n s e i l l i e ce fu l i serpens que tu v e i s a l a u i e l l e dame c[h]eualcier ce fu l a damoisele qui [h]ier te v i n t veoir . . . . i l ne sera iamais eure quele ne tente l e s cheualiers ihesu c r i s t & l e s preudomes & ceus en qui l i sains esperis est herbergies. . . . l i pauillons qui i e r t roons a l a maniere de l a circonstance del monde senefie tot apertement l e monde q u i l n i sera i a nus sans pec[h]ie . . . . Ele te p r i a que tu te reposasses tant que l a nu[i]s venist cest a d i r e tant que l a mors te sospregne qui vraiement est apelee nuis.^y There i s l i t t l e i n t h i s explanation that could be reckoned unknowable by ordinary means. The revelations offered here are far more concerned with 168 overcoming simple ignorance, c l e a r i n g up misunderstanding, and es p e c i a l l y countering the work of the d e v i l who has previously appeared i n disguise and done his best to present a very misleading picture of Perceval's experiences and of h i s own r o l e i n them. The mode of presen-t a t i o n of knowledge here i s r e v e l a t i o n , but i t s nature i s simply f a c t u a l , and i t s purpose i s e s s e n t i a l l y p r a c t i c a l and moral: to thwart the de-c e i t s of the d e v i l . The explanation of the p e l i c a n legend and of the white and black birds that i s given to Bohort s i m i l a r l y follows upon an attempt at deception by the d e v i l i n disguise, who has given him a very d i f f e r -ent version of the meaning of the two birds and of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of his own behaviour than w i l l eventually emerge from the holy exegete: l i [blans] o i s e l qui venoit a t o i en guise de cisne senefie vne damoisele [bi e l e & r i c e & de u a i l l a n t gent] qui tamera par amors [& a ame longement] . & te [volra proier et te] venra prochainement proier que tu soies ses amis & ses acointes . Et ce que tu ne l i v o l o i e s o t r o i e r senefie que tu l i escondiras . & ele sen i r a & moura de duel s i l ne ten prent p i t [ i ] e s . L i noirs o i s i a x senefie ton grant pec[h]ie qui l e te fera escondire . Car por crieme de dieu ne por bonte que tu aies ne lescondiras tu pas . ains l e feras . ains l e feras por ce que on te tiegne a caste por conquerre l a loenge [& l e uaine g l o i r e ] del monde . S i en venra s i grans maus de ceste chastete que la n c e l o t tes cousins en morra . Car l i parent a l a damoisele l o c h i r o n t . & ele en mora de duel quele aura del escondit . Et por ce [te] pora len bien d i r e que tu es [h]omicides de lun & de la u t r e a u [ s ] s i comme tu as este de ton fre r e . . . . c o JO There are enough clues within t h i s l y i n g explanation i t s e l f to warn Bohort that he should not heed i t , so that i t i s questionable whether the subsequent demystification i s absolutely necessary i n the f i g h t against the d e v i l . S t r u c t u r a l l y , however, the demystification f i t s i n to a pattern following the i n i t i a l adventure of d e c e i t f u l explanation, 169 temptation and resistance, true explanation, renewed adventure. However i t i s regarded, whether as a progressive l i n e a r development or as a balanced set of p a r a l l e l elements, the emphasis i s directed to moral purpose: i n the renewed encounter with L i o n e l that i s the f i n a l element i n the serie s viewed as a s t r a i g h t l i n e Bohort acts v i r t u o u s l y and suc c e s s f u l l y , and i n the centre of the same series viewed as a p a r a l l e l structure l i e temptation and resistance. The context into which the demystification f i t s i s thus one of resistance to the tempter and turning to God, and i t appropriately provides the type of knowledge necessary for th i s purpose: once again what i s revealed i s e s s e n t i a l l y f a c t u a l . Know-ledge here i s funamentally a matter of who i s who, who has done what, who desires or has desired what, and what i s expected of whom. Even when the d e v i l ' s t r i c k e r y i s less i n evidence and an overt moral purpose i s lacking, the nature of knowledge revealed i n the Queste remains l a r g e l y the same. A s i g n i f i c a n t l y large proportion of the explanatory material i n the romance consists of h i s t o r i c a l flashbacks, explanations that reach into the past to answer the same sort of ques-tions addressed by the demystifications. These also provide l a r g e l y the same sort of answers: f a c t u a l information that i s by no means unknowable by ordinary means i n i t s e l f , but has been concealed through coincidence or through some deliberate act of w i l l . The miraculous s h i e l d with the red cross poses the same sort of problem created elsewhere by the wiles of the d e v i l , though the d e v i l i s not involved with i t . This s h i e l d i s e s p e c i a l l y reserved for Galahad, 59 but f o r reasons that are i n i t i a l l y not c l e a r . The explanation of the sp e c i a l character of the s h i e l d and of i t s absolute reservation for Galahad alone proves to be an account of i t s h i s t o r y . I t began with 170 the departure of Joseph of Arimathea for Sarras, where he converted Mordrain, King of that c i t y , to C h r i s t by miraculously assuring him v i c t o r y i n a war with h i s neighbour Tholomer: . . . l i f i s t [aporter] . j . escu ou i l f i s t vne c r o i s de chendal & l i d i s t Rois evalac or te mousterai i e comment tu poras conoistre l a force & l a vertu del crucefiement ihesu c r i s t . II est v o i r s que tholomers .aura seignorie sor t o i . i i j . i o r s & i i j . nuis & tant fera q u i l te metera a paor de mort . Mais quant tu verras que tu ne porras escaper l o r s descueuvre l a c r o i s & d i . biax dous peres ihesu c r i s t de qui mort i e port lenseigne . i e t e s moi s a i n & sauf de cest camp . & i e s u i prest a receuoir vostre f o i & vostre creance. 60 Having been delivered as promised, Mordrain was baptized, and took the name Evalach, and the s h i e l d became one of h i s treasured possessions: "Lors rechut evalac baptesme & deuint boins crestiens en ihesu c r i s t . s i ot puis nostre seignor en grant amor & en grant reuerence & f i s t 61 garder lescu moult ricement." On h i s deathbed Joseph made with h i s own blood a cross on the s h i e l d , and l e f t i t with Evalach as a remem-berance of himself, adding that i t was to be kept for the l a s t descendant of Nascien: . . . ne i l ne faudra mie s i tost . por ce que iamais nus ne l e pendra a son c o l puis q u i l sera cheualier q u i l ne sen repente . iusquatant que galaas l i boins cheualiers l i daarains del lignage nascien l e pendera a son c o l . Et por ce ne s o i t nus s i hardis qui a son c o l l e pende se c i l non a qui diex l a destine . s i i a t e l ocoison que tot a u [ s ] s i come plus grans [merueilles] ont este ueues en cest escu que en autres . tot a u [ s ] s i trouera on en c e l u i plus merueilleuse proueche & plus haute cheualerie & plus haute v i e que en autre cheualier.,„ 62 The knowledge on which t h i s explanation of the s h i e l d and i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p to Galahad i s based c l e a r l y derives from events, not from i t s nature: the general c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of s h i e l d s , crosses and bleed-ing figures are of no help or i n t e r e s t . Nor does the concept of nature 171 i n any sense have a s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e here: the operative force creating the meaning of the s h i e l d i s rather w i l l . I t i s made a powerful t a l i s -man i n the f i r s t place through the w i l l of Joseph and through the w i l l of God underlying and supporting him. I t bears an unfading cross because Joseph endows i t with one, and i t i s reserved for the Good Knight, to be the instrument by which he works s t i l l greater marvels, because Joseph prophecies that i t w i l l be. Both the power inherent i n the s h i e l d and i t s s p e c i a l connection with Galahad derive ultimately from Joseph's w i l l made strong and e f f e c t i v e by God. The s p e c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p i s not determined by a h i s t o r i c a l structure, as i t might have been i n Perlesvaus. The s h i e l d i s not needed to l i n k Galahad to any figure out of the past, nor even to i d e n t i f y him: he i s already known by name at the time of Joseph's death. The knowledge that comprises t h i s explanation i s of a uniform empirical type, con s i s t i n g of decisions, promises and pr o c l a -m a t i o n s — a l l e s s e n t i a l l y acts of the will—made i n the remote past. The f i r s t story of the Castle of the Maidens i s explained along s i m i l a r l i n e s , by a background story. The incident i t s e l f i s a mixture of the mysterious and the prosaic: Galahad i s bidden by an unseen voice to d e l i v e r the c a s t l e , and he i s c l e a r l y mysteriously predestined to be i t s d e l i v e r e r , but he takes i t conventionally enough by defeating the seven brothers who hold i t , r e c eiving i t s surrender and forcing the 63 vassals to forswear the e v i l custom they previously pra c t i s e d . The e v i l custom and the predestination of Galahad to end i t are explained as the consequence of incidents and prophecy. The c a s t l e f e l l under the control of seven brothers years e a r l i e r when they were guests of Duke Lynor, attempted to rape one of his daughters, and i n the subse-quent melee k i l l e d the duke and one of h i s sons. When the brothers 172 then imprisoned the daughter and won control of the whole region she predicted t h e i r ultimate punishment: Quant l a f i l l e au due u i t ce s i fu moult corecie & d i s t a u [ s ] s i comme par d e u i n a i l l e s . certes f a i t ele [seigneur] se vous l a seignorie de cest chastel aues i l ne vous puet c h a l o i r . Car se vous laues ore par ocoison de feme a u [ s ] s i l e perderes vous par feme . & en seres tot . v i j recreant par l e cors dun seul cheualier . [ I c i l t i n r e n t tout cou a despit] & l i d i s t r e n t por ce quele auoit ce d i t q u i l ne passeroit iamais damoisele par cest chastel q u i l ne l a retenront iusquatant que l e cheualiers vendroit par qui i l seroient vaincu . s i lont f a i t dusques a o r e . ^ The ultimate explanation of both the e v i l custom and the manner of i t s destruction l i e s i n the w i l l of the duke's daughter. Galahad i s uniquely chosen f o r t h i s r o l e because she has decided he w i l l be, and the e v i l custom arises because the seven brothers know she has decided t h i s , and wish to f o r e s t a l l her. The e v i l custom i s thus l i k e the s p e c i a l s h i e l d reserved for the Good Knight. The s i g n i f i c a n c e of both i s determined by a human w i l l — r e i n f o r c e d by the d i v i n e — t h a t enjoys the same sort of power wielded i n Perlesvaus by h i s t o r i c a l structure and p o s i t i o n . The Divine W i l l , which i n such a C h r i s t i a n i z e d romance must be the u l t i -mate c o n t r o l l i n g influence, i s not working through a determining s t r u c -ture, but through human agents who make decisions and utter p r e d i c t i o n s . Because control i s exercised through them, knowledge, understanding and explanation of present phenomena must always consist e s s e n t i a l l y i n discovering who they are and what they have decided or predicted. Uncovering the f a c t s , e s p e c i a l l y about the background to any person or incident, i s as important for the meaning of the Queste as delineating h i s t o r i c a l structures i s for Perlesvaus. It i s equally revealing of the meaning of the Queste to discover the purpose that i s being served by the predictions and decisions and 173 by the r e v e l a t i o n of them through the work of the holy exegetes. Such revelations have an obvious moral purpose when they are set i n opposition to the d e v i l ' s l i e s , of course, but they have also a more fundamental function, both i n those cases and on the other occasions when they are merely expounding meaning by providing background. When, for example, the h i s t o r y of the s h i e l d i s t o l d , or when the o r i g i n s of the e v i l custom are r e l a t e d , the major r e s u l t i s the s e t t i n g apart of Galahad, the Good Knight. They do not i d e n t i f y him, for he i s already known even by name. They do not confer h i s mission upon him, or reveal i t to him, for he i s already performing i t by both external prowess and inner p u r i t y . They do, however, s i n g l e him out, and such s i n g l i n g out of the e l e c t i s a very important part of the process of r e v e l a t i o n and of the meaning of the Queste. The author does not make the point e x p l i c i t l y , and he may not have planned i t consciously, but i n fa c t the Queste i s about, among other themes, divine e l e c t i o n . This motif of reservation and e l e c t i o n appears c l e a r l y i n the explanation of the three fellowships.^^ P a r a l l e l i s m obviously figures i n i t prominently. The Good Knight i s l i k e Joseph, who i s i n turn l i k e C h r i s t . The Seat of Danger at the Round Table i s l i k e the Seat of Dread at Joseph's table. Each table i s the focus of a fellowship, and each nourishes i n a more than ordinary way. Each, too, i s blessed, either by C h r i s t or by the Holy G r a i l . In part, then, the mystery of the present Round Table and of the reservation of the Seat of Danger for Galahad alone i s explained by p a r a l l e l s to the e a r l i e r tables and fellowships. Tables, seats and fellowships possess something akin to natures, i n s i g h t into which provides a measure of understanding of the mystery surround-ing them. Once again, however, the mystery i s one of reservation and 174 e l e c t i o n , and the nature of the phenomena that explain i t i s the conse-quence of s p e c i f i c incidents and the conscious expression of i n d i v i d u a l w i l l . The s p e c i a l character of the Seat of Dread derives from i t s a s s o c i a t i o n with C h r i s t f i r s t and then with Joseph of Arimathea, and the transference of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s from one to the next i s not accomplished through determinant p a r a l l e l i s m of structures or natures but through de l i b e r a t e i n t e n t . The Seat of Dread at the second table i s reserved for Joseph alone, and usurpers are subject to divine punishment, because i t was expressly set aside for that purpose, consecrated and blessed by the Lord's own hand. En cele table auoit vn siege ou iosep[he] l i f i e x iosep[h] deuoit s e o i r . c i s sieges e r t e s t a b l i s a che que l i plus maistres daus & l o r paistres s i as s i e t . ne a nule autre n i ert otroies . & e s t o i t sacres & beneis de l a main nostre seignor [meisme] s i comme l e s t o i r e [le] deuise . & auoit receue l a cure que iosep[h] deuoit auoir sor crestiens & [en] c e l u i siege l a u o i t nostre s i r e s a [ s ] s i s . g ^ In the same way the Seat of Danger at the t h i r d table i s d e l i b e r a t e l y set aside by Merlin: Qvant c i l oirent ceste parole s i d i s t r e n t . Certes merlin puis q u i l sera s i preudons comme tu dis tu deuroies f a i r e vn propre siege ou nus ne s a [ s ] s i e t fors i l tot seulement . s i f e r a i i e d i t merlin . l o r s f i s t . j . siege grant & meru[e]illeus . & quant i l l o t f a i t . s i l e commencha a bessier & d i s t que ce auoit i l f a i t pour lamour del boin eureus cheualier qui s i reposeroit [& asseroit] . . . . Car iamais nus ne s i asserra q u i l ne s o i t mors ou mahaignies [einz q u i l sen parte] iusquatant que l i v r a i s c[h]eualiers s i asserra.,-, o / The mystery of the Seat of Danger, l i k e the mystery of the Seat of Dread, i s one of r e s e r v a t i o n — t h e exclusion of the unworthy and un-chosen—and e l e c t i o n ; and the source of the mystery l i e s i n the w i l l of Merlin, the w i l l of Joseph and ultimately the w i l l of C h r i s t . They 175 create the mystery so that the unworthy w i l l be excluded, and they provide for the r e v e l a t i o n of i t s meaning so that the e l e c t w i l l be acknowledged.^ The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the purpose of mysteries and reve-l a t i o n — r e s e r v a t i o n and e l e c t i o n — a n d t h e i r n a t u r e — e m p i r i c a l knowledge concealed or r e v e a l e d — i s not acc i d e n t a l . Because reservation and e l e c t i o n are e s s e n t i a l l y moral acts, the product of divine and human w i l l — G a l a h a d i s not stronger or brighter than the other knights, but h o l i e r — t h e y f i n d t h e i r expression i n acts of w i l l and t h e i r meaning i n the consequences of those acts. There i s therefore l i t t l e reason to pursue knowledge of other kinds, even i f i t i s attainable, and i n such circumstances i t i s not, i n f a c t , pursued. The sword found on board the Ship of Solomon c e r t a i n l y poses a mystery that might be approached through the wealth of symbolic d e t a i l that surrounds i t and that ought to furnish i n s i g h t into i t s nature. I t s pommel i s a r i c h jewel of many colours, each possessing a s p e c i a l v i r t u e , the h i l t i s covered with a red c l o t h , the scabbard i s red with gold and s i l v e r i n s c r i p t i o n s , the underside of the sword i t s e l f i s black as p i t c h , and also i n s c r i b e d , and the hangings are s t r i k i n g l y out of keeping with a l l 69 the r e s t , being merely of hemp. Something surely could be made of these d e s c r i p t i v e features, but l i t t l e a c t u a l l y is. 7'"' The meaning of the sword mystery i s explicated i n the i n s c r i p t i o n s , and they are con-cerned with the sword's r e l a t i o n s h i p to the unique i n d i v i d u a l selected to bear and use i t : Ie s u i merueilleus a veoir & plus merueilleus a connoistre . Car onques nus ne me pot empoignier tant eust l a main grande ne [nus] ne fe r a fors vns tous seuls . Et c i l passera de son mestier tous eels qui deuant l u i auront este & qui apres l u i 176 vendront. . . . & volent autres l e t t r e s vermeilles comme sane . qui d i s o i e n t Ia nus ne s o i t tant hardis qui del feure me t r a i e s i l ne[n] d o i t miex f e r i r que autres . Et qui autrement me t r a i r a bien sace i l q u i l ne faudra i a a estre mors ou mahaignies . Et ceste chose a i a este esprouee aucunes f o i s . ^ ^ The subsequent lengthy account offered as an explanation of the sword mystery i s r e a l l y the story of how the unique connection of sword and Good Knight was preserved against various presumptuous or merely ignor-72 ant i n d i v i d u a l s who t r i e d to appropriate i t to t h e i r own use. The sword incident leads d i r e c t l y into the even longer and more 73 involved legend of the Tree of L i f e . This legend i s not o r i g i n a l to the Q u e s t e — i t i s l i f t e d verbatim out of the E s t o i r e del Saint G r a a l — but i t i s incorporated for a purpose i n complete harmony with the estab-l i s h e d function of mysteries and t h e i r explanation. The various coloured trees provide Solomon with the means of constructing the symbolic bed on board h i s ship and thereby of hiding i t s meaning from a l l except those to whom God w i l l choose to reveal i t . The meaning—which i s a narrative of f a c t s and e v e n t s — i s denied to the unchosen and revealed to the Good Knight and his companions by the w i l l of Solomon and the w i l l of God. Smybolic colours express the nature of the tree and i t s many offshoots, but the purpose for which they are used does not a r i s e out of t h e i r nature; i t a r i s e s out of Solomon's w i l l . That purpose i s , moreover, to s i n g l e out the Good Knight, to e s t a b l i s h a r e l a t i o n s h i p with him, and to express the s p e c i a l status that h i s unique moral q u a l i t i e s have earned for him. In various instances, therefore, the r e v e l a t i o n of otherwise in a c c e s s i b l e knowledge i n the Queste serves as a means of divine e l e c t i o n . I t i s not wholly unconcerned with the nature of holiness, 177 righteousness or pu r i t y , but i t i s far more concerned with s i n g l i n g out those who are holy, righteous and pure, those i n whom grace can produce s t i l l greater f r u i t s , and with d i s t i n g u i s h i n g them from others who are destined to f a i l u r e and s i n because of t h e i r unholiness. Those to whom rev e l a t i o n i s granted are more important than the message conveyed to them. I t i s i n them that the struggle against e v i l w i l l be won, i n them that grace w i l l f oster s p i r i t u a l growth, i n them that knighthood w i l l continue to f l o u r i s h . * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The Nature of Meaning and the Meaning of the Adventures: a Divergent View The l i n e of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n being developed here has tended, through external and i n t e r n a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and through r e f l e c t i o n on the nature of knowledge as presented i n the Queste, toward the notion of grace at work to choose c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s , to overcome e v i l within them and to fos t e r h oliness. E s s e n t i a l to th i s development at every stage, although for the most part unstated, i s the assumption that the Queste t r u l y i s a work of f i c t i o n , and that knowledge and explanation are there-fore i n some way or other at the service of the story. Though the author intervenes consciously and re g u l a r l y as c r i t i c to i n t e r p r e t the s i g n i f i -cance of the adventures he recounts, he i s nonetheless p r i m a r i l y a story-t e l l e r . The discourses delivered by holy exegetes are r e a l l y explana-tions of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the adventures. The adventures are not simply bearers and exemplars of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the discourses. The strong emphasis on w i l l that emerges from consideration of the nature of mystery and knowledge can conceivably lend i t s e l f to other 178 i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s , however, notably to i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s that would ascribe prime importance to knowledge, and only secondary value to the actual narrative of events. The notion of d e l i b e r a t e l y creating secrets so that c e r t a i n p r i v i l e g e d i n d i v i d u a l s — a n d they a l o n e — c a n discover t h e i r meaning i n l a t e r ages i s the ce n t r a l tenet of a d i s t i n c t school of c r i t i -cism that has a p e r s i s t e n t f a s c i n a t i o n with material l i k e the Arthurian legends. E s o t e r i c theories of mediaeval l i t e r a t u r e are not uncommon, and motifs l i k e the Tree of L i f e and the Ship of Solomon obviously lend themselves to i n t e r p r e t a t i o n along such l i n e s . The e s o t e r i c meaning of the G r a i l legend has, of course, been expounded i n p a r t i c u l a r l y extravagant form i n a recent study, The Holy 74 Blood and the Holy G r a i l . The case made i n that work i s probably weak-ened by the authors' obvious delight i n shocking the s e n s i b i l i t i e s of C h r i s t i a n b e l i e v e r s and t h e i r espousal of the improbable cause of the r e s t o r a t i o n of the Merovingian monarchy i n France, to say nothing of the d i f f i c u l t i e s they encounter with the chronology of the G r a i l l i t e r a t u r e i t s e l f , but that case i s not inherently preposterous i n so far as i t touches on the G r a i l legend, and i t has been made i n s u f f i c i e n t l y p lau-s i b l e form to merit a hearing. Even serious students of the G r a i l and Arthurian material sometimes view i t as the freemasonry of the media-eval world, preserving a body of secret knowledge for transmission down through the ages from generation to generation of i n i t i a t e s , unknown to the world at large. They would i n t e r p r e t the great f l o u r i s h i n g of Arthurian and G r a i l legends i n the twelfth centuries not as a growth and development but as an eruption into the public domain of what was already f u l l y developed and t h r i v i n g i n closed c i r c l e s , and would con-tinue to l i v e on i n those c i r c l e s once the public clamour had f i n a l l y 179 exhausted i t s e l f . By i t s very nature such a genre of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s as d i f f i -c u l t to expound as i t i s to attack, wholly secret l i t e r a r y sources not lending themselves r e a d i l y to sch o l a r l y i n v e s t i g a t i o n . A coherent and f a i r l y representative statement of the case f o r eso t e r i c sources and the 75 primary importance of knowledge has been made by Rene Guenon, however. For Guenon the G r a i l i s one of those symbols whose very nature i s esoteric and i n i t i a t o r y . He r e a d i l y admits that the sudden eruption of what he holds to be a secret t r a d i t i o n into the public domain i s not re a d i l y explainable, but he argues that a poet can e a s i l y transmit i n i t i a t o r y material without himself r e a l i z i n g i t s true s i g n i f i c a n c e , and that the absence from a work of overt signs of preoccupation with a higher meaning i s no proof that that meaning i s not present. Guenon also foresees and attempts to counter arguments based on the unquestionably C h r i s t i a n message of the Queste and other G r a i l texts: because the G r a i l legend i s presented i n C h r i s t i a n guise many tend to treat i t s other elements as simple f o l k l o r e , imagining f a l s e l y that a people i s capable of creating things and thus of being c i t e d as a source. On the contrary, he maintains, such elements may be clothed i n the trappings of magic and f a i r y t a l e , and t h e i r transmission may depend on popular culture, but they constitute a t r a d i t i o n i n the most precise sense, a body of material handed on, and that material comprises e s o t e r i c data, as remote from f o l k l o r e and popular culture as anything could be. The presence of such es o t e r i c data i n a popular adventure Guenon explains as the conscious decision of the l a s t h e i rs of a t r a -d i t i o n i n danger of e x t i n c t i o n to confide t h e i r precious secrets to the c o l l e c t i v e memory. In t h i s p a r t i c u l a r case c e r t a i n t r a d i t i o n a l , i n i t i -atory elements of Druidism have been confided to the care, so to speak, 180 of Christians so that they can l i v e on as part of the inner, e s o t e r i c core of C h r i s t i a n i t y i n p a r a l l e l with ordinary, external C h r i s t i a n r e l i g i o n . Such elements would include the G r a i l i t s e l f , with l i n k s both to the E u c h a r i s t i c c h a l i c e and to the vessel of abundance, and the lance. Both point toward the heart or centre of the world, the now l o s t earthly paradise where the true sense of e t e r n i t y i s to be discovered, but which i s now accessible only through secondary centres, through substitute objects l i k e the G r a i l and lance. Guenon's view of what i s happening i n the transmission of the G r a i l material unquestionably corresponds i n external c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s to what takes place within the p l o t of the Queste when secrets are handed down from generation to generation by people who do not know what they are transmitting, u n t i l the message reaches those for whom i t was destined. However, though the process be the same, neither the nature of the secrets nor the purpose for which they are f i r s t trans-mitted as secrets and l a t e r demystified corresponds i n any way to e s o t e r i c , i n i t i a t o r y p r i n c i p l e s . In nature the secrets f i r s t preserved and then revealed i n the Queste are u t t e r l y prosaic and i n no way e s o t e r i c ; they are l i t t l e more than ordinary facts and i n c i d e n t s . More s i g n i f i c a n t l y , however, they have absolutely no i n i t i a t o r y purpose. The chosen r e c i p i e n t s of pre-v i o u s l y concealed knowledge are chosen and singled out by the preser-vation of the secrets from others and by the r e v e l a t i o n of those same secrets to them, but they are not chosen i n order to l e a r n the secrets. The order i s rather the opposite. The secrets are servants of the process of reservation and e l e c t i o n . The purpose for which i n d i v i d u a l s are chosen i s the conferring of grace to overcome e v i l and to produce 181 holiness. The creation, preservation and ultimate r e v e l a t i o n of secrets are only a means, and a t e r t i a r y means at that, of e f f e c t i n g the choice: the w i l l of God working through human w i l l s employs the manipulation of knowledge to s i g n i f y the choice of knights to be r e c i p i e n t s of grace. In e f f e c t i t would be le s s p l a u s i b l e to argue, as Guenon does i n respect of the G r a i l legend i n general, that the Queste contains an esoteric message i n C h r i s t i a n guise than to maintain that i t contains a C h r i s t i a n message and m e a n i n g — e x p l i c i t l y stated i n a form that any reader can g r a s p — i n e s o t e r i c guise and forms. The s i g n i f i c a n c e of the transmission of secrets to predestined i n d i v i d u a l s i s not to be found i n the secrets transmitted—which are of the most banal c h a r a c t e r — b u t i n the i n d i v i d u a l s for whom they are destined. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * E l e c t i o n , S a n c t i f i c a t i o n and the Renewal of Knighthood If the transmission and r e v e l a t i o n of secret knowledge does not provide a basis for i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Queste, i t at l e a s t prevents the f a c i l e acceptance of other and inadequate bases for i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , such as the struggle against e v i l , or the s a n c t i f i c a t i o n of the i n d i -v i d u a l . Though knowledge may be transmitted and revealed for purposes rela t e d to moral struggle and to s a n c t i f i c a t i o n , i t nonetheless and undeniably has a proper r o l e of i t s own, p r i o r to them, which i s e l e c -t i o n . A l l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the Queste center i n some way e i t h e r on knowledge—the enlightenment and the e s o t e r i c t h e o r i e s — o r on moral struggle and s a n c t i f i c a t i o n . E l e c t i o n i s the middle term between them, and i t i s the key to u n i t i n g them i n a cogent synthesis. The fourth trend i n analysis of the Queste—that i t i s about 182 knighthood—has been the most neglected to t h i s point, but must be con-sidered i n r e l a t i o n to the question of e l e c t i o n . That the chosen i n d i -viduals i n whom grace produces f r u i t are a l l knights may be so obvious as to seem i n s i g n i f i c a n t . When viewed along with the phenomena of reservation and r e v e l a t i o n of knowledge, however, the knighthood of Bohort, Lancelot and Galahad takes on added s i g n i f i c a n c e , because these three chosen i n d i v i d u a l s are r e a l l y the only men i n the Queste who suc-ceed i n being knights i n any meaningful sense. Their brother knights i n name are excluded from the e f f e c t i v e r e a l i z a t i o n of t h e i r knighthood j u s t as they are excluded from access to reserved secrets. The e l e c t , however, are provided by the morally oriented r e v e l a t i o n they receive with a set of values and a code of conduct to replace the t r a d i t i o n a l values of c h i v a l r y , and they are given the fa c t u a l information necessary to recognize r e a l enemies and thus to win legitimate v i c t o r i e s . In t h i s regard i t i s s t r i k i n g how often the r e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of adventures by holy exegetes allows the chosen knights the opportunity p r e c i s e l y to be knights, not necessarily i n any new way, but i n the old t r a d i t i o n a l sense of being warriors with a cause. The revealed secrets make possible the old way of l i f e , now become unrealizable by the old means. Galahad's r a i s i n g of the tombstone of great weight, with i t s 76 protective shrieking voice, to reach the body of the knight l y i n g beneath, i s explained i n a way that creates a p a r a l l e l between C h r i s t and Galahad and thus gives Galahad an i d e n t i t y as Messiah. I t also, however, gives him a knightly i d e n t i t y and an opportunity to do knightly s e r v i c e . I t i d e n t i f i e s him, through C h r i s t , as the vassal of a p a r t i c u l a r l o r d — t h e Lord God, of course—and gives him a bona f i d e 183 b a t t l e to f i g h t against a